Dead Links and People Becoming Post-TS/TG

Every six months or so I go through the links along the side of my Blog and get rid of those who haven’t posted anything new for five or six months or so.

Some Blogs just disappear.

But every time there are a couple of sisters who leave a last post saying something to the effect that now they are post-op they have discovered they have different priorities in life.

This is easy to understand.  I went through the same thing myself.

So much of the Transsexual/Transgender Community is about transition and transition has little to do with the rest of people’s lives.

I have a hard time with people writing about how thrilled they are with having been on hormones a few weeks or going full time.  I am more than willing to give an encouraging word to some one who sounds suicidal and tell them don’t do it, it really can get better.

But I honestly don’t care about people’s excitement over transition.  I did it so long ago I have no real advice to offer.

I think TS/TG activist need to give up the guilt tripping of people, who walk away from the so called community.  People are entitled to their own lives and have the right to live them as they wish with out a bunch of people giving them shit.

I don’t do groups or TS/TG community meetings.  I do occasionally do a demonstration, usually for employment non-discrimination.

When I go to DOR events I wonder about the real ogre in the room.  High risk sex work due to lack of alternatives.

Part of what keeps this blog going is it’s not being just about Trans-issues.  Rather it is about the issues that face most of us including TS/TG people.

Psychiatry and mental illness: Has science gone too far?

From Salon:

Some say a biological revolution is coming — but some diseases may be easier to diagnose in the lab than others

Wednesday, Sep 18, 2013

The long-awaited update to the American Psychological Association’s “Bible” for mental disorders, the DSM-5, was officially released in May. But the National Institute of Mental Health, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has taken the official stance that the DSM is “no longer sufficient for researchers.” What does this mean for the future of psychiatry — for researchers, clinicians, and consumers of mental health services?

Psychiatry, in its current iteration, emphasizes the clinician’s judgment call for diagnosis. Such judgment calls are currently based on the DSM. But with newer technologies and increasingly sophisticated genetic research, psychiatry could become more about biology — although, as researchers are now discovering, some disorders could be easier to find biological bases for than others.

The most common complaint about DSM-5, and the DSM versions that came before it, is that its definitions of disorders are based on clusters of symptoms, and not objective measures. If someone comes into a doctor’s office complaining of fever, swollen lymph nodes, and excessive sweating, the physician can send the patient to be tested for leukemia. If another person goes into a psychiatrist’s office complaining of feeling down in the dumps and losing interest in formerly beloved activities, the psychiatrist must use his or her best clinical judgment to evaluate, using the patient’s potentially unreliable reports, whether he or she meets the criteria for depression. Are five or more of a list of nine symptoms, including fatigue or loss of energy, weight loss or gain, or feelings of worthlessness, present during the same two-week period? Is at least one of the symptoms depressed mood or loss of interest of pleasure? What if the individual has only four of the nine symptoms, or comes in at the one-and-a-half week mark?

NIMH spoke to such concerns in its initial press release regarding DSM-5. Published on April 29th, the release bemoaned the “weakness” of DSM’s categorizations, announcing that “patients with mental disorders deserve better.” At the same time, NIMH promoted its own project — a surprise to many laypeople — called the Research Domain Criteria project, or RDoC. RDoC’s aim, according to the NIMH Strategic Plan, is to “[call] for the development, for research purposes, of new ways of classifying psychopathology based on dimensions of observable behavior and neurobiological measures.” In other words: let’s bring more hard science to psychiatry.

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West Covina man charged with slaying of Baldwin Park transgender woman

From San Gabriel Valley Tribune:

By Brian Day

BALDWIN PARK >> A person found beaten to death in a Baldwin Park motel room last week and was identified by authorities as a 26-year-old man was a transgender woman known to loved ones as Melony Smith, friends said Monday.

Smith, who was listed at the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner as Vanhxay Inthichack, was discovered dead in her motel room in the 13900 block of Francisquito Avenue about 1:30 p.m. Sept. 9.

Detectives Thursday identified Stephen Gonzales, 28, of West Covina as a suspect in the slaying. Lt. David Coleman of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said. Gonzales, who was already in jail following a drug possession Wednesday, was expected to appear in Pomona Superior Court Tuesday.


The relationship, if any, between Gonzales and Smith was unknown to both friends and investigators. A specific motive has not been released, however court documents show he was charged Monday with robbery, in addition to murder.

Leticia Alvarado, who works as a cashier at the motel where Smith had been staying on and off for more than three years, said she first discovered her friend’s body.

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The LGBT community desperately needs to confront anti-gay propaganda

From LGBTQ Nation:

Alvin McEwen
Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Reposted with permission

The recent passage of an LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance in San Antonio highlights yet again why the LGBT community urgently needs to call out the propaganda that serves to demonize our community.

Before San Antonio City Council voted for the ordinance, members of the LGBT community had to sit through demeaning testimony that cast them as “promiscuous abominations.” One supposedly well-meaning gentleman even took it upon himself to school everyone in graphic detail about sodomy, thereby invoking the stereotype of gay men wallowing in bodily wastes.

I personally felt nauseated when I read the tweets about the testimony. I felt as if I’d been strapped down in some time machine and transported back to when Anita Bryant was trumpeting the false claim that gays “recruit” children to supposedly “replenish” our ranks.

It was such a long time ago that Bryant smeared the gay community, but here we are, decades later, hearing the same lies in spite of the fact that we are supposed to be a bit more enlightened. After all, isn’t this the post-Will & Grace era in which the LGBT community are no longer consigned to the closets of fear, stereotypes, and self-hatred?

So why did so many people in San Antonio freely embrace some of the worst and most nauseating stereotypes about the LGBT community?

To paraphrase Shakespeare, the fault lies not in our stars but in ourselves. The LGBT community has deceived itself into thinking that if we just sidestep the lies and distortions and solely focus on “telling our stories” as ordinary people seeking fairness under the American system, our problems with those who oppose our right to equality will dissipate.

It’s high time that the LGBT community realize that this belief is a false bill of goods that serves as a pitiful Band-Aid to a problem that requires more than stories designed to yank at the heart strings; indeed, such efforts make it look as if we are begging for “tolerance.”

For every one LGBT individual who successfully educates his or her neighbor, organizations such as the National Organization for Marriage, the Family Research Council, and the American Family Association send out press releases to thousands of people, spinning tales of gays persecuting Christians, diseased gays who live shorter lifespans than heterosexuals, or gays who enjoy abusive relationships when they are not seeking to harm children.

We are dealing with a veritable juggernaut of lies not unlike those spread about African Americans by segregationists, or those spread about Jewish people by anti-Semites. The problem is that we don’t take this juggernaut seriously. We laugh at the outrageous lies uttered about us by Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth, or Matt Barber of the Liberty Counsel, but we fail to see that by not publicly and forcefully refuting these lies, we give them a clear field to influence Americans.

When we underestimate the comments and claims that deliberately cast us as the dangerous “other,” we forget that they do in fact move a significant part of the population, either because of those people’s religious beliefs or because Fischer and company are so adept at infusing fear of a gay takeover in their minds.

We are consistently under the illusion that addressing this propaganda gives it power, but we have the entire idea backwards. Our refusal to confront this propaganda is the very thing that gives it power.

Until the LGBT community and our leaders declare war against the lies and liars and make a serious effort to confront this propaganda head-on, America will have serious problems seeing the real LGBT community. They will have problems seeing us as tax-paying citizens who are concerned about our families, our children, and our loved ones just like every other American citizen.

Instead, they see a false image of LGBT persons as hedonistic, intolerant hypocrites who are out to “force” people to “accept” our supposed “lifestyle” while we “recruit” children or “persecute” Christians. These misconceptions will continue to nip at our heels, undermining any progress we make at attaining equality.

Are we ever going to turn around and confront these false images and the parties who push them?

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Simmering divide over ENDA’s broad religious exemption set to boil

From Metro Weekly:

by Justin Snow
September 17, 2013

Congress has returned to Washington after its month-long summer recess, and as a historic Senate vote draws nearer on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, lingering divisions over the legislation’s religious exemption could set the stage for a battle between advocates in the months ahead.

During a panel discussion in New York City last week hosted by Freedom to Work as the first part of its “ENDA Situation Room” series, a bipartisan panel met to “plot a path forward” for the bill, which has languished in Congress for decades. But that path forward rapidly became mired in a debate over whether ENDA’s religious exemption as written would open the door to LGBT discrimination in places far beyond churches and synagogues, and whether narrowing ENDA’s religious exemption would cause shaky Republican support to collapse entirely.

According to Tico Almeida, president of Freedom to Work, the religious exemption as written has proven popular among Republicans who might not otherwise support ENDA and is the “sweet spot of both law and politics.”

“I think it is the best of all of the options because it provides clarity,” Almeida said. “It creates a 100 percent match with the entities that are exempt from Title VII religious provisions [of the Civil Rights Act]. So we have 40 years of case law, we have 40 years of precedent, we have 40 years of experience that will let religious employers know whether they are covered by ENDA.”

Almeida bears a special relationship with the current religious exemption: He helped write it. As chief counsel for ENDA in the House of Representatives from 2007 to 2010, Almeida was one of two individuals who helped craft its current language. The bill states that ENDA “shall not apply to a corporation, association, educational institution or institution of learning, or society that is exempt from the religious discrimination provisions of title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” which prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

But while Almeida has fervently defended the language, several prominent organizations have said it’s just not good enough.

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Burying the Lede: The LGBT Community’s Deafening Silence on Federal Transgender Employment Protections

From The Huffington Post:


Transgender Americans are protected against discrimination in employment in all 50 states under federal law.

There, I said it. The opening statement in an essay or news report is known as “the lede,” and in the newspaper business it is supposed to give the reader the main or primary idea of the story that follows. Dropping the main idea deep in the story or at its end is known as “burying the lede” and is used to hide the main element of the story from the reader, or to allow secondary issues to overwhelm her so that she misses the most important point when it’s presented.

Transgender Americans are protected against discrimination in employment in all 50 states under federal law.

This is an important fact that all trans Americans need to know. They need to know it because despite the fact that nearly 50 percent already live in jurisdictions with state and local protections, the rate of employment discrimination is still very high. Local and state laws play an important role in changing culture, but they are often not promoted effectively to the business community, so change remains plodding.

The degree of discrimination is now very well documented. Thanks to studies done by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in association with the National Center for Transgender Equality, the Center for American Progress, the Williams Institute and, most recently, the Movement Advancement Project, we have current data that clearly show the extent of discrimination. We are very grateful to our allies for doing these labor-intensive studies, which, over recent years, have gone a long way toward convincing federal authorities and various state and local legislatures to act to protect and expand the trans workforce.

Transgender Americans are protected against discrimination in employment in all 50 states under federal law.

Over the past 13 years, since the turn of the century, we have had increasing success in winning victories in federal court, culminating in the EEOC decision in Macy v. Holder. That decision stated that discrimination against trans persons is to be considered sex discrimination under Title VII. It was a unanimous, bipartisan decision. All those decisions since 2000 have created a body of law that shows an unmistakable trend. That trend was recognized in 2011 by the federal judges of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, including the extremely conservative judge William Pryor, in their opinion in the case Glenn v. Brumby:

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Lying Christo-Fascist Pat Robertson: San Antonio Will Put Christians In Jail Over Anti-Discrimination Policy

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Before You Give up on Democracy, Read This!

From Huffington Post:


Who doesn’t feel like throwing in the towel… with congressional approval ratings at a pitiful 10 percent? For pete’s sake, even the much-reviled “socialism” has more than double the fans.

Yet a moment’s reflection tells us we can’t solve any of our giant challenges without public decision-making bodies that work. So settling for the best democracy money can buy is not an option.

And just as clear?

That we can’t we fix our broken democracy without a vision of one that could work. Human beings have a hard time creating what we can’t imagine or even name. Of course, our “vision” can’t be some pie-in-the sky, fairy-tale democracy. To be motivating, it has to be hard-nosed: grounded in all we now know — the good, bad, and the ugly — about nature, including our own.

Here’s where we might begin:

First, we stop assuming that the prevailing version of liberal democracy — elections plus markets — is the best we humans can do. Then, we appreciate what ecology has to teach us about democracy. It’s a lot. Simply put, ecology holds these main lessons: that everything’s connected and everything’s changing — with all elements shaping all others moment to moment. We, like all organisms, respond to context.

“Thinking like an ecosystem,” we can see therefore that our inherited notion of democracy as an unchanging, political structure — fixed and finished — is bound to fail. With an “eco-mind,” we realize that democracy’s first questions must be:

What are our species’ essential needs?

And, then, what specific contexts have proven to elicit our species’ capacities to build societies meeting those needs?

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The Banality of Systemic Evil

From The New York Times:

September 15, 2013

In recent months there has been a visible struggle in the media to come to grips with the leaking, whistle-blowing and hacktivism that has vexed the United States military and the private and government intelligence communities. This response has run the gamut. It has involved attempts to condemn, support, demonize, psychoanalyze and in some cases canonize figures like Aaron Swartz, Jeremy Hammond, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden.


In broad terms, commentators in the mainstream and corporate media have tended to assume that all of these actors needed to be brought to justice, while independent players on the Internet and elsewhere have been much more supportive. Tellingly, a recent Time magazine cover story has pointed out a marked generational difference in how people view these matters: 70 percent of those age 18 to 34 sampled in a poll said they believed that Snowden “did a good thing” in leaking the news of the National Security Agency’s surveillance program.


So has the younger generation lost its moral compass?

No. In my view, just the opposite.

Clearly, there is a moral principle at work in the actions of the leakers, whistle-blowers and hacktivists and those who support them. I would also argue that that moral principle has been clearly articulated, and it may just save us from a dystopian future.

In “Eichmann in Jerusalem,” one of the most poignant and important works of 20th-century philosophy, Hannah Arendt made an observation about what she called “the banality of evil.” One interpretation of this holds that it was not an observation about what a regular guy Adolf Eichmann seemed to be, but rather a statement about what happens when people play their “proper” roles within a system, following prescribed conduct with respect to that system, while remaining blind to the moral consequences of what the system was doing — or at least compartmentalizing and ignoring those consequences.

A good illustration of this phenomenon appears in “Moral Mazes,” a book by the sociologist Robert Jackall that explored the ethics of decision making within several corporate bureaucracies. In it, Jackall made several observations that dovetailed with those of Arendt. The mid-level managers that he spoke with were not “evil” people in their everyday lives, but in the context of their jobs, they had a separate moral code altogether, what Jackall calls the “fundamental rules of corporate life”:

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NYPD Undercover Spying Unit Revealed As Extensive, Far-Reaching

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US super-rich hit new wealth record five years after financial crisis

From The Guardian UK:

Forbes magazine says the 400 wealthiest Americans are worth a record $2.02tn, up from $1.7tn in 2012

The Guardian, Monday 16 September 2013

Five years after the financial crisis, America’s super-rich have recovered all their losses to see their wealth reach an all-time high.

According to Forbes magazine the 400 wealthiest Americans are worth a record $2.02 trillion (£1.4tn), up from $1.7tn in 2012, a collective fortune slightly bigger than Russia’s economy. In another sign of fizziness at the top of the economy, the cost to enter the billionaires’ club has also gone up to levels not seen since the 2008 crash. In 2013, an aspiring plutocrat needs at least $1.3bn to make the Forbes list – the highest since just before the collapse of Lehman Brothers sent stock markets plummeting.

Bill Gates has been named as the richest American for the 20th year in a row, with a personal fortune of $72bn. The computer entrepreneur turned philanthropist recovered his position as the world’s richest man in May, when he overtook mobile phone tycoon Carlos Slim, who had held the top spot for the previous four years.

Gates, the university drop-outwho founded Microsoft and has given away $28bn since 1994, saw his fortune grow by $6bn since 2012, partly helped by a rise in Microsoft’s stock price since August.

In second place is Warren Buffett, the investor feted for his shrewdness, who recently bought Heinz. Buffett, with a fortune of $58.5bn, was one of the biggest gainers in 2013, which helped him retain his place on the list. The outspoken founder of software company Oracle, Larry Ellison, takes third place with a $41bn fortune.

The richest woman in the US, and the world, is Christy Walton, who inherited a retail fortune when her husband died in 2005. Walton is estimated to be worth $35.4bn, thanks to her shares in the world’s largest supermarket Walmart, which has annual sales of $466bn and employs 2.2 million people worldwide – a workforce bigger than the population of Slovenia. She shares the Walmart fortune with her brother-in law Jim and sister in law Alice, who take sixth and seventh place on the list, with around $33bn each.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg edged into the top 20 after his personal fortune doubled to $19bn as the tech company’s stock price revived over the summer, following a wobbly stock market debut in 2012.

But the social media tycoon is not the youngest on the list. That title belongs to his former dorm mate and Facebook co-founder, Dustin Moskovitz, 29, just a few days younger than Zuckerberg.

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America’s Rich Are Getting Richer Even Faster Than You Thought

From Alternet:

We have come, as a nation, almost full circle back to the deeply unequal America of the late 1920s.

By Sam Pizzigati
September 17, 2013

The future just keeps getting brighter for Americans with unique specialties.

Randy Stearns has one such specialty: “home-tech integration.” Stearns helps people install and maintain high-tech gadgets. But we’re not talking “geek squad” and hooking up home networks here. We’re talking rich people — and electronic toys that can cost more than houses.

Randy Stearns  offers “24/7 white glove” service for clients who typically pay between $150,000 and $450,000 per project. These affluents get plenty for their money. Call Randy and you, too, could end up with a home monitoring system that sends out alerts whenever your wine cellar temperature rises too high.

Annual sales in luxury home-tech integration, Stearns estimates, are going to nearly double — to $3.7 billion — by 2016. He may be underestimating his potential market. America’s rich, two top economists revealed last week, are actually getting richer faster than almost anyone thought possible.

Last year,  report Emmanuel Saez from the University of California Berkeley and Thomas Piketty from the Paris School of Economics, the incomes of America’s top 1 percent — families that took home over $393,941 — shot up just under 20 percent over the year before. America’s really rich, families in the top 0.01 percent, saw their incomes soar by over 32 percent.

The just over 16,000 families that make up our top 0.01 percent finished up last year averaging $30,785,699 in income each.

And the rest of America? The incomes of the nation’s bottom 99 percent rose all of 1 percent last year. Since 2009, bottom 99 percent incomes have barely bumped up at all, just 0.4 percent on average, after taking inflation into account.

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Frackademia Exposed: Federally Funded, Industry Driven

From Food and Water Watch:

By Katherine Cirullo
September 17th, 2013

Recently, Steve Horn of the DeSmog Blog uncovered shocking information that leaves us shaking our head at our nation’s leaders and our once trusted scholars. Embedded in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 is section 999, which describes the U.S. Department of Energy-run Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (RPSEA). We knew previously that oil and gas companies and industry executives have funded and advised academic research on fracking, but the U.S. government has a major role in these projects, too. Federal funding of oil and gas industry controlled “frackademia” leaves us concerned for the future of fracking, and for our air, water and public safety.

In May, Food & Water Watch released an extensive review of frackademic projects. Research revealed the projects were insufficiently controlled by universities, lacked peer review and were developed by advisory boards with undue pro-industry agendas.  Ties between research and “Big Oil and Gas” companies have led to the promotion of shale gas development under the guise of credible academic research.

In June, we blogged about a slightly different form of frackademia: Universities have been scrutinized for their intention to lease campus land to the industry for “fracking research” in exchange for lowered tuition rates and research funding. Obvious conflicts of interest in these cases have led student activists and community members to speak up for their school’s academic integrity, as well as for the health and safety of the community. As a result, some project proposals have been put on hold.

Research that is tainted by the oil and gas industry’s profit-driven model is inherently unsound and not credible. But even more troubling is that “frackademic” research actually exists by law. RPSEA is a program that has been implemented for the past several years under the auspices of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Since 2006, this frackademic program has existed under federal law, receives federal funding and is led mainly by industry and government officials.

RPSEA is a non-profit organization composed of dozens of top U.S. energy entities, 22 top academic research institutions and just a small handful of independent research laboratories. RPSEA receives about $100,000 in annual funding under the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Mind you, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 is the very same act that exempts fracking from the Safe Drinking Water act. In addition to the annual $100,000, RPSEA receives an income fund from any federal royalties obtained from onshore and offshore oil and gas leases on federal land. Furthermore, in 2006, the U.S. Department of Energy selected RPSEA as recipient of a ten year, $50 million research program aimed to “develop new technologies and produce more abundant and affordable domestic energy supplies.”

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Southern Leg of Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline Flunks Climate Test Too

From Eco Watch:

Tom Weis
September 16, 2013

I had a chance to read FAIL: How the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline Flunks the Climate Test, a recent report issued by the Sierra Club and Oil Change International and endorsed by a dozen other environmental organizations. The 17-page report makes a rock solid case that “constructing Keystone XL will lead to tar sands industry expansion, and tar sands industry expansion will significantly exacerbate climate pollution. “

The report documents how the Keystone XL would be a pipeline through the U.S. by delivering toxic tar sands to Gulf Coast refineries, thereby opening the floodgates for Canada’s dirty energy to be exported overseas.

What the report fails to mention, however, is the central fact that it is the 485-mile southern leg of Keystone XL already being constructed in Texas and Oklahoma—not the pipeline’s proposed northern leg—that will give TransCanada strategic access to these U.S. coastal ports.

Here’s the inconvenient truth about the Keystone XL: TransCanada does not need the pipeline’s northern leg to begin pumping hundreds of thousands of barrels of toxic tar sands daily through America’s breadbasket for export overseas. This map shows how they will accomplish this by simply connecting Keystone XL’s southern leg to Keystone I (the orange line on the map) built by TransCanada in 2010.

Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune is right to describe the Keystone XL as “a test of the president’s commitment” to combating climate change. But the test isn’t being given in 2014 over whether Obama approves or rejects a permit for the pipeline’s northern leg. The test is being administered right now in Texas and Oklahoma, where the Keystone XL’s 485-mile southern leg is already 90 percent constructed and scheduled to go online by late this year or early next.

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