Not One More

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brynn-tannehill/not-one-more_b_6400854.html

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How Do We Find Justice for Transgender Teen Leelah Alcorn?

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deserae-l-stage/how-do-we-find-justice-fo_b_6398204.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices


12/31/2014

Leelah Alcorn, a 17 year-old transgender teen from Kings Mills, OH, died by suicide early Sunday morning. But for local media in Ohio, Leelah doesn’t exist at all. Joshua Alcorn, on the other hand, died in the roadway on I-71 in Warren County, OH, after being struck by a tractor trailer. No cause of death, no recognition of Leelah’s true identity — just the facts, ma’am.

Leelah wanted her voice to be heard. She left a suicide note, pre-scheduled to publish to her Tumblr account in the hours after her death. It was preceded by a series of three gory images that should have served as a warning sign for the dire crisis she was in. In the note, she discussed experiencing gender dysphoria from the age of 4, but having no language for it and doing “traditionally ‘boyish’ things to try to fit in.”

She wrote of learning about gender identity, of taking her newfound discovery to her mother, and of being rejected. She was sent to Christian counselors. She rebelled by coming out as gay, thinking it might soften the blow of her transition. She was taken out of school and isolated from her friends.

She felt crushed by the rejection of her family, forced into a box she couldn’t and didn’t want to fit into. She saw no future in which she could be who she needed to be. She felt hopeless. She saw dying as her only option.

Leelah’s death is tragic, but it’s not unique.

Nearly 40,000 Americans die by suicide each year. It’s difficult to break this number down for the LGBTQ population because the national data does not exist. But we do know this: according to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, of 6,456 trans and gender non-confirming individuals surveyed, 41 percent reported a past suicide attempt — a figure much higher than the 10-20 percent of adults who identified as lesbian, gay, or bisexual and also reported a past attempt. Per the survey, 57 percent of respondents who experienced familial rejection after coming out had attempted suicide.

Diego Sanchez, policy director of PFLAG National, told The Los Angeles Times, “This report punctuates what PFLAG families know is fundamental — that there is life-saving merit, demonstrable value, and paramount need for family acceptance.”

This is where most of Leelah’s grievances seemed to lie, and she left us with a call to action:

The only way I will rest in peace is if, one day, transgender people aren’t treated the way I was, they’re treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights…

My death needs to mean something. My death needs to be counted in the number of transgender people who [die by] suicide this year.

I want someone to look at that number and say, “That’s fucked up,” and fix it.

Social media users are posting thoughts and resources using #justiceforleelahalcorn, but where is the justice and what kind of justice are we hoping for? We lost the life of a young person who just wanted to be herself and be accepted for that. She wanted her body to match her heart and her mind. She wanted to be loved, unconditionally and without fail.

The only justice we can each ensure is in compassion: for Leelah; for her family; for those who struggle or have struggled with their gender identity; for those who never have and don’t know how to understand; and for the many, many others who have fought to live in a world fraught with discrimination and who just couldn’t do it anymore.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deserae-l-stage/how-do-we-find-justice-fo_b_6398204.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices

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There But For Fortune

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Leelah 17 Suicide Note

From Lazer Princess: http://lazerprincess.tumblr.com/post/106447705738/suicide-note

If you are reading this, it means that I have committed suicide and obviously failed to delete this post from my queue.

Please don’t be sad, it’s for the better. The life I would’ve lived isn’t worth living in… because I’m transgender. I could go into detail explaining why I feel that way, but this note is probably going to be lengthy enough as it is. To put it simply, I feel like a girl trapped in a boy’s body, and I’ve felt that way ever since I was 4. I never knew there was a word for that feeling, nor was it possible for a boy to become a girl, so I never told anyone and I just continued to do traditionally “boyish” things to try to fit in.

When I was 14, I learned what transgender meant and cried of happiness. After 10 years of confusion I finally understood who I was. I immediately told my mom, and she reacted extremely negatively, telling me that it was a phase, that I would never truly be a girl, that God doesn’t make mistakes, that I am wrong. If you are reading this, parents, please don’t tell this to your kids. Even if you are Christian or are against transgender people don’t ever say that to someone, especially your kid. That won’t do anything but make them hate them self. That’s exactly what it did to me.

My mom started taking me to a therapist, but would only take me to christian therapists, (who were all very biased) so I never actually got the therapy I needed to cure me of my depression. I only got more christians telling me that I was selfish and wrong and that I should look to God for help.

When I was 16 I realized that my parents would never come around, and that I would have to wait until I was 18 to start any sort of transitioning treatment, which absolutely broke my heart. The longer you wait, the harder it is to transition. I felt hopeless, that I was just going to look like a man in drag for the rest of my life. On my 16th birthday, when I didn’t receive consent from my parents to start transitioning, I cried myself to sleep.

I formed a sort of a “fuck you” attitude towards my parents and came out as gay at school, thinking that maybe if I eased into coming out as trans it would be less of a shock. Although the reaction from my friends was positive, my parents were pissed. They felt like I was attacking their image, and that I was an embarrassment to them. They wanted me to be their perfect little straight christian boy, and that’s obviously not what I wanted.

So they took me out of public school, took away my laptop and phone, and forbid me of getting on any sort of social media, completely isolating me from my friends. This was probably the part of my life when I was the most depressed, and I’m surprised I didn’t kill myself. I was completely alone for 5 months. No friends, no support, no love. Just my parent’s disappointment and the cruelty of loneliness.

At the end of the school year, my parents finally came around and gave me my phone and let me back on social media. I was excited, I finally had my friends back. They were extremely excited to see me and talk to me, but only at first. Eventually they realized they didn’t actually give a shit about me, and I felt even lonelier than I did before. The only friends I thought I had only liked me because they saw me five times a week.

After a summer of having almost no friends plus the weight of having to think about college, save money for moving out, keep my grades up, go to church each week and feel like shit because everyone there is against everything I live for, I have decided I’ve had enough. I’m never going to transition successfully, even when I move out. I’m never going to be happy with the way I look or sound. I’m never going to have enough friends to satisfy me. I’m never going to have enough love to satisfy me. I’m never going to find a man who loves me. I’m never going to be happy. Either I live the rest of my life as a lonely man who wishes he were a woman or I live my life as a lonelier woman who hates herself. There’s no winning. There’s no way out. I’m sad enough already, I don’t need my life to get any worse. People say “it gets better” but that isn’t true in my case. It gets worse. Each day I get worse.

That’s the gist of it, that’s why I feel like killing myself. Sorry if that’s not a good enough reason for you, it’s good enough for me. As for my will, I want 100% of the things that I legally own to be sold and the money (plus my money in the bank) to be given to trans civil rights movements and support groups, I don’t give a shit which one. The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren’t treated the way I was, they’re treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights. Gender needs to be taught about in schools, the earlier the better. My death needs to mean something. My death needs to be counted in the number of transgender people who commit suicide this year. I want someone to look at that number and say “that’s fucked up” and fix it. Fix society. Please.

Goodbye,

Leelah Alcorn

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The Democratic Party Keeps Screwing Up: Why Progressives Need to Be Independent of the Party

I getting just as tired of the Left’s version of the Tea Party as I am of the Right’s Tea Party

Find Democrats who support the Middle Class people of all races along with Working Class and Poverty Class people of all races and get behind them.  Get rid of the self centered identity politics groups who refuse to work with others.

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/time-abandon-democrats?paging=off&current_page=1#bookmark

Progressives have no power in a corporate, focus-grouped, Wall Street-leaning party.

By Bill Curry
December 26, 2014

The Democrats’ conduct since the midterm debacle is as sad and sorry as the campaign that caused it. The party’s leaders are a big problem. A bigger one is the closed system of high-dollar fundraising, reductionist polling and vapid messaging in which it is seemingly trapped. Some say a more populist Democratic Party will soon emerge. It won’t happen as long as these leaders and this system are in place.

Nancy Pelosi says it wasn’t a wave election. She’s right. It was the Johnstown Flood; as catastrophic and just as preventable. One year after the shutdown Republicans scored their biggest Senate win since 1980 and their biggest House win since 1928. Turnout was the lowest since 1942, when millions of GIs had the excellent excuse of being overseas fighting for their country.

Every Democratic alibi — midterm lull, sixth-year curse, red Senate map, vote suppression, gerrymandering, money — rings true, but all of them together can’t explain being swept by the most extreme major party in American history. Citing other statistics — demography, presidential turnout, Hillary’s polls — they assure us that in 2016 happy days will be here again. Don’t bet on it.

It took more than the usual civic sloth to produce the lowest turnout in 72 years. It took alienating vast voting blocs, including the young and the working class of both genders and all races. The young now trend Republican. Voters of all ages migrate to third parties or abandon politics altogether. It’s the biggest Democratic defection since the South switched parties in the 1960s. If Democrats don’t change their ways, their 2016 turnout will be a lot harder to gin up than they think.

Democrats are in denial regarding the magnitude and meaning of their defeat. It is a rejection not just of current leaders but of the very business model of the modern Democratic Party: how it uses polls and focus groups to slice and dice us; how it peddles its sly, hollow message and, worst, how it sells its soul to pay for it all. Party elites hope party activists will seek to lift their moods via the cheap adrenaline high of another campaign. For once, activists may resist the urge.

The vital task for progressives isn’t reelecting Democrats but rebuilding a strong, independent progressive movement. Our history makes clear that without one, social progress in America is next to impossible. For 100 years progressive social change movements transformed relations between labor and capital, buyers and sellers, blacks and whites, men and women, our species and our planet. But in the 1970s progressives began to be coopted and progress ceased. Their virtual disappearance into the Democratic Party led to political stultification and a rollback of many of their greatest achievements.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/time-abandon-democrats?paging=off&current_page=1#bookmark

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Turkey’s President Erdogan Decries Birth Control As Form Of Treason

Tell me again how Islam respects the rights of women…

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/22/erdogan-birth-control-treason_n_6366446.html

Posted: 12/22/2014

ISTANBUL, Dec 22 (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has described birth control as a form of “treason,” saying it threatened the country’s bloodline.

Erdogan urged a newly married couple at their wedding late on Sunday to have at least three children to help boost Turkish population figures, a common refrain from the president, who worries a declining birth rate may undermine economic growth.

“For years they committed a treason of birth control in this country, seeking to dry up our bloodline. Lineage is very important both economically and spiritually,” he told the couple after serving as their witness at the wedding. A video of the speech was posted on the mainstream Radikal news website.

Last month, Erdogan, a devout Muslim, said it was unnatural to consider women and men equal and said feminists did not understand the importance of motherhood. In 2012, he sought to effectively outlaw abortion, but later dropped the plan amid a public outcry.

Erdogan regularly faces criticism for an authoritarian style of rule after 11 years in power.

Turkey’s population growth has been slowing in recent years and the live-birth rate hovered at 2.07 percent last year, according to official statistics. (Reporting by Ayla Jean Yackley; Editing by Dominic Evans)

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Friday Night Fun and Culture: Linda Ronstadt

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UK’s only transgender military pilot talks of the support she received from Prince William

From Gay Star News:  http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/uk%E2%80%99s-only-transgender-military-pilot-talks-support-she-received-prince-william221214

The woman, who has served alongside the prince as a search and rescue pilot, has spoken out about her life, career and transition process

By David Hudson

22 December 2014

The RAF’s only openly transgender plane pilot, Flight Lieutenant Ayla Holdom, has given a moving interview to the Mail on Sunday in which she discusses her life – and was full of praise for the way in which her colleagues in Britain’s Royal Air Force accepted her transition.

Holdom, now aged 34, says that she knew she was different from around the age of four, but that the pressure to fit in almost drove her to suicide.

‘From being a teenager I felt a void inside me. It drove me to achieve, to join the military, to fly, to qualify as a search-and-rescue pilot, but it was never, ever enough, because my essential self didn’t correspond to my external image and who could live that kind of lie?

‘I knew I wasn’t a gay man, I couldn’t tick that box. But it is a huge step to ask yourself if you might be transgender because of the stigma attached to it.

‘You know you risk being ostracized, ridiculed, belittled and made to feel somehow less human. You are the punchline in a big joke, or worse, still deemed to have a psychological condition.

‘You are considered a freak and you put your career, your family ties and your friendships on the line. That’s why you deny it, why you deny it even to yourself until the need to do something about it is so overwhelming it makes life impossible – truly impossible.’

Instead of suicide, Holdom instead decided to transition – a move supported by her family, and her wife, Wren, with whom she continues to live at RAF Chivenor in North Devon.

The two now live in a lesbian relationship and plan to try and start a family, as Holdom had some of her sperm frozen from when she was living as a man.

Deciding to undergo transition meant explaining the decision to her RAF colleagues, including Prince William. The two served together on search and rescue when the Prince was a member of the small, tight-knit team of 20 at RAF Valley.

Continue reading at:  http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/uk%E2%80%99s-only-transgender-military-pilot-talks-support-she-received-prince-william221214

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Merry Christmas

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The day I saw 248 girls suffering genital mutilation

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.theguardian.com/society/2012/nov/18/female-genital-mutilation-circumcision-indonesia

In 2006, while in Indonesia and six months pregnant, Abigail Haworth became one of the few journalists ever to see young girls being ‘circumcised’. Until now she has been unable to tell this shocking story

It’s 9.30am on a Sunday, and the mood inside the school building in Bandung, Indonesia, is festive. Mothers in headscarves and bright lipstick chat and eat coconut cakes. Javanese music thumps from an assembly hall. There are 400 people crammed into the primary school’s ground floor. It’s hot, noisy and chaotic, and almost everyone is smiling.

Twelve-year-old Suminah is not. She looks like she wants to punch somebody. Under her white hijab, which she has yanked down over her brow like a hoodie, her eyes have the livid, bewildered expression of a child who has been wronged by people she trusted. She sits on a plastic chair, swatting away her mother’s efforts to placate her with a party cup of milk and a biscuit. Suminah is in severe pain. An hour earlier, her genitals were mutilated with scissors as she lay on a school desk.

During the morning, 248 Indonesian girls undergo the same ordeal. Suminah is the oldest, the youngest is just five months. It is April 2006 and the occasion is a mass ceremony to perform sunat perempuan or “female circumcision” that has been held annually since 1958 by the Bandung-based Yayasan Assalaam, an Islamic foundation that runs a mosque and several schools. The foundation holds the event in the lunar month of the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, and pays parents 80,000 rupiah (£6) and a bag of food for each daughter they bring to be cut.

It is well established that female genital mutilation (FGM) is not required in Muslim law. It is an ancient cultural practice that existed before Islam, Christianity and Judaism. It is also agreed across large swathes of the world that it is barbaric. At the mass ceremony, I ask the foundation’s social welfare secretary, Lukman Hakim, why they do it. His answer not only predates the dawn of religion, it predates human evolution: “It is necessary to control women’s sexual urges,” says Hakim, a stern, bespectacled man in a fez. “They must be chaste to preserve their beauty.”

I have not written about the 2006 mass ceremony until now. I went there with an Indonesian activist organisation that worked within communities to eradicate FGM. Their job was difficult and highly sensitive. Afterwards, in fraught exchanges with the organisation’s staff, it emerged that it was impossible for me to write a journalistic account of the event for the western media without compromising their efforts. It would destroy the trust they had forged with local leaders, the activists argued, and jeopardise their access to the people they needed to reach. I shelved my article; to sabotage the people working on the ground to stop the abuse would defeat the purpose of whatever I wrote. Such is the tricky partnership of journalism and activism at times.

Yet far from scaling down, the problem of FGM in Indonesia has escalated sharply. The mass ceremonies in Bandung have grown bigger and more popular every year. This year, the gathering took place in February. Hundreds of girls were cut. The Assalaam foundation’s website described it as “a celebration”. Anti-FGM campaigners have proved ineffective against a rising tide of conservatism. Today, the issue is more that I can’t not write about that day.

Continue reading at:  http://www.theguardian.com/society/2012/nov/18/female-genital-mutilation-circumcision-indonesia

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Women sold as sex slaves in Islamic State markets, says UN official

From Jerusalem Post:   http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Women-sold-as-sex-slaves-in-Islamic-State-markets-says-UNs-Valerie-Amos-384804

By Michelle Malka Grossman
12/16/2014

The situation for Syrian women has worsened since July at the hands of Islamic State, said Valerie Amos, the UN’s under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief.

She described how women and female children as young as 12 are enslaved and sexually abused. “Women captured as slaves by [Islamic State] have been sold in markets in Raqqa. Some are sold to individual men. Others are kept by [Islamic State] in rest houses and face multiple rapes by fighters returning from the battlefield,” Amos reported during a UN Security Council session on Monday.

“Kurdish refugees from Kobani reported the capture of young girls by [Islamic State] for sexual purposes, girls as young as 12.”

Amos said there has also been a rise in the incidence of forced marriage. “This is in part due to a depletion of family resources and more recently because parents are terrified of their daughters being forced to marry [Islamic State] fighters in areas under their control.”

She called these and other horrible acts war crimes. “[Islamic State] has carried out mass victimization of civilians including murder, enslavement, rape, forcible displacement and torture, and has violated its obligation toward civilians.”

Amos spoke harshly about the lack of progress since the Security Council passed Resolution 2139 in February, which laid out a number of basic human rights demands that the Syrian government and opposition fighters must follow.

Amos criticized the international community for becoming numb in the face of almost 200,000 deaths in Syria, with millions more injured and displaced. She said that Syrian refugees now account for a fifth of the world’s number of displaced people.

Continue reading at:  http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Women-sold-as-sex-slaves-in-Islamic-State-markets-says-UNs-Valerie-Amos-384804

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How To Wrap A Cat For Christmas

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How Not to be an Ally: KateGate’s Growing Horrors: From the B-52s’ Kate Pierson’s Unapologetic Alignment With Anti-Trans Activism to Her Transparently Empty Call for Dialogue

I’ve had numerous personal anthems and songs that got me through tough patches in life. Not one of them has been specifically trans themed.

But that’s neither here nor there, maybe more reflective of when I came out than anything or just my perspective on trans being something I was treated for rather than an identity.

But Lady Gaga’s “Born this Way” failed to move me.  I haven’t bothered with checking You Tube for Kate Pierson’s “Mister Sister”.  The very title tells me it is probably offensive.

I’m tired of well meaning non-trans-folks blundering around with their studies and patronizing support.  Dealing with the well meaning, all knowing supporters is often more demeaning than dealing with hateful bigots.  With the bigots I just snarl and hit back, with the well meaning patronizing idiots I have to put up with hurt feelings followed with accusations of non-appreciation.

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jamie-cooper-holland/the-horrors-of-kategate-c_b_6316272.html


12/16/2014

Dear Kate,

It’s been over a week since the release of your new single, “Mister Sister,” and the publication of my open letter to you regarding the disappointment and pain that it caused me, a longtime fan, and many in the trans community. What initially began as a few sparks flying about your single has officially turned into a conflagration.

In your response to the criticism, you claimed that dialogue is important. Yet over the past several days, many comments posted to your Facebook page that have been critical of the message in your song (and nonthreatening, despite claims to the contrary) have been quickly and summarily removed. Moreover, how can I or anyone else who shares my concerns find meaning in dialogue when you didn’t respond specifically to any of the issues I raised, such as the inclusion of a documented transmisogynist in your video? What does dialogue actually mean to you, and how do we achieve it? Because we’re clearly not there now.

You responded, “By ‘trans’ I meant to be more universal and not presume to ‘represent’ any particular group. Huffington Post added the ‘(gender)’ to my quote….” The problem here is that I never once called your new single a “transgender anthem.” Starting with the headline, I clearly called it your “trans anthem,” just like you did, and as I did throughout my letter. In fact, I only used the word “transgender” once, and that was in reference to viciously transmisogynistic commentary by Alyson Palmer, one of your video’s two problematic guests.

Then you briefly talked about the “power of transformation,” “the joy of self acceptance,” “transcend[ing] gender boundaries,” and “promot[ing] greater understanding.” Finally, you closed by reminding me of your dedication to the fight for LGBTQ rights, and you acknowledged “how important dialogue such as this can be.” Dialogue, you say, is “just as important today than ever before.”

Since my open letter was published many other wonderful, important, and thoughtful responses to your single by members of the trans community have been published. They range from the personal and heartbreaking to the calmly diplomatic to the plainly frustrated to researched journalism to a succinctly in-your-face reality check to the brilliantly sincere, silly, and satirical. This while you tweet and cheer about a brutally cutting and wordy post by a “gendercrit” blogger who calls those of us who have issues with the single “anti-feminist trans activist league of SJ hashtag hobgoblins.” I’m a passionate intersectional feminist, by the way, as opposed to a trans-exclusionary radical feminist (TERF). I’m anti-bigot and profoundly pro-feminist, despite the ongoing attempt by some to reclaim an exclusionary, marginalizing, tightly wound twisting of what “feminism” means. In snarky academic prose, this writer makes the poisonous case that trangender people are nothing more than a political movement. She even names Cathy Brennan, one of the most infamous anti-gender activists in circulation, as someone she aspires to call a friend. For goodness’ sake, Kate, this is dialogue to you? What planet are you on? Planet Claire?

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jamie-cooper-holland/the-horrors-of-kategate-c_b_6316272.html

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For Low-Wage Americans, The Holiday Season Is A Time To Work

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/17/low-wage-workers-holiday_n_6317226.html

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How Not to Be an Ally: White screaming drowns out black voices at protests

From SF Gate:  http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/johnson/article/White-screaming-drowns-out-black-voices-at-5958642.php

By Chip Johnson
Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Bay Area protests over the deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown and scores of others may assuage white liberal guilt and provide a righteous reason to rail against the machine, but it would be nice to actually hear from some black folks.

So far, it seems all I’ve seen and heard in three weeks of protest are some pretty vocal white folks screaming to have their way, or dismissing the actions of the wolves inside the flock as the ugly backside of democracy.

Assault, vandalism and looting are not protected forms of free speech.

In Oakland, black religious leaders who have traditionally stood front and center in every successful civil rights movement were not part of the revolution this time.

Their conspicuous absence has led to marches that, quite frankly, appear to be more about white rage than black empowerment. It’s more about what they want than it is about what African American communities truly need.

Black leadership whether from churches or community organizations would add credibility, foster communication and bridge the gap between demonstrators and middle-aged and older African Americans who’ve been down this road before.

“I’m waiting for someone to say all black lives matter, whether they are being killed by police officers or other young black men,” said Bishop Bob Jackson, the African American pastor at Acts Full Gospel Church, which has more than 12,000 congregants from across the Bay Area.

“I like the mantra, but if we’re going to do it, let’s do it right.”

The annual Martin Luther Day King March planned for Oakland will call on police officers as well as citizens who resolve disputes with violence to declare a moratorium on all killings of black men, Jackson said.

But in an era where Sunday church services take a backseat to weekend sales and football games, that influence and their message is waning.

“The clergy in Oakland have not really come together,” said Bishop Joseph Simmons, pastor at Greater St. Paul Church in West Oakland. “We’re still trying to figure out where we fit in in all of this. This generation doesn’t have respect for the church, and we don’t have the power we once had.”

All the same, the violence, vandalism and looting that have been part of the demonstrations in Oakland, Berkeley and San Francisco have disappointed some of the black community leaders.

“When you see protesters taking the opportunity to loot stores and burn stuff, it doesn’t help preserve the memories of young men like Brown and Garner,” Jackson said. “Using their deaths as an excuse to terrorize innocent citizens, loot, rob and destroy only hurts our cause.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/johnson/article/White-screaming-drowns-out-black-voices-at-5958642.php

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US marine charged with killing Filipino transgender woman

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/15/us-marine-charged-killing-filipino-transgender-laude-pemberton

Joseph Pemberton faces 20 years in jail if found guilty of murder of Jennifer Laude in case that has fanned anti-US sentiment

Prosecutors in the Philippines have filed murder charges against a US marine accused of killing a Filipino transgender woman in a case that has fanned anti-American sentiment.

Prosecutors found probable cause against Pte First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton and decided that he used “treachery, abuse of superior authority and cruelty” against his alleged victim, lead prosecutor Emilie Fe delos Santos told a televised briefing.

“You can see the kind of cruelty she endured, the injuries she sustained,” Delos Santos said. “We believe we have a strong case.” Pemberton will not be allowed to post bail, she said. Murder is punishable by up to 40 years in jail.

Jennifer Laude, a 26-year-old transgender woman also known as Jeffrey, was found dead on 2 October in a hotel, in the port city of Olongapo. She was discovered half-naked in a bathroom with marks of strangulation on her neck, according to police. Laude died from asphyxia by drowning, according to a police autopsy.

“This is not an ordinary murder. This is heinous because she was beaten up,” the Laude family lawyer, Harry Roque, told reporters.

Pemberton, who had just finished taking part in US-Philippine military exercises near Olongapo, had checked into the hotel with Laude and was the last person seen with her. Police said Pemberton, aged 19 at the time of the death, had asked prosecutors to downgrade the murder charge to homicide, which carries a maximum 20-year prison term.

Laude’s death sparked street protests and the public outcry pressured the Philippine government to seek the transfer of Pemberton’s detention from a US warship to military headquarters in Manila.

Continue reading at:  http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/15/us-marine-charged-killing-filipino-transgender-laude-pemberton

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Friday Night Fun and Culture: Joni Mitchell

 

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Turning the Page: Transgender issues — Moving on

I have been saying it for years:  For Transsexual folks who get SRS being part of the active Transgender Community can be a finite matter.  Being post-transsexual doesn’t require you to be a hateful asshole, it just means knowing the time has come to relinquish the activist role to others for whom issues are more immediate.

Better to back off than get angry and fight.  Better to admit apathy than go to war over words.

From The Montreal Gazette:  http://montrealgazette.com/life/transgender-issues-moving-on

Jillian Page, Montreal Gazette
December 10, 2014

Well, apparently I was wrong. Some transgender people do feel Chelsea Manning is a spokesperson for them.

And at least one of them threatened to campaign against me for daring to speak my opinion in a previous post, which I have taken offline not because of the individual’s intimidation tactics, but simply because I have decided not to write about transgender issues any more.

It’s something I have been thinking about recently. I started writing about trans issues, at the urging of my paper, when I was gender transitioning. I received a fair bit of criticism back then — in 2008 and 2009 — from other gender-transitioned women, who told me I shouldn’t be advocating for “cross-dressers” who will never have sexual reassignment surgery. That was my first inkling there was a great divide in the so-called transgender community. Indeed, those women didn’t see themselves as “transgender” people; they view themselves simply as women and they do not see “part-time crossdressers” with male anatomy as women.

But I did continue to write about transgender people, as well as other members of the LGBTQ community.

Lately, though, I have been saddened by the armchair social media militancy of some in the trans community, by how they pounce on and bully anyone — journalist or not, trans or not — who expresses contrary views. And label people whether they like it or not: when I mentioned recently that some biological women don’t like to be referred to as “cisgender,” a trans activist wrote to me and said, in essence, “Too bad. She must be a radfem. I’ll call her what I want.” (For the record: they are not radfems; they support trans people.)

Sadly, while some transgender people cry out for respect and equal rights, they don’t extend the same to others.

Not all trans people are militant, of course. Most aren’t. But journalists who have been attacked by transgender “warriors” are often very wary of trans subjects afterward.

Like most bloggers, I don’t get paid for writing posts. It’s not part of my job; it has been a labour of love. I will continue to write about some LGB issues, because I am part of that group. But I will step back from transgender matters, as so many of my gender-transitioned peers urged me to do in 2008 and 2009 after I had SRS. Like them, I do not consider myself to be a transgender person: I am simply a woman, and my path to womanhood is irrelevant. I am happy to live in the gender binary.

I will always be in favour of equality for those who dwell between the gender binary, but I will leave the advocacy to people who live that experience — because it is not my experience.

For me, it’s time to move on from transgenderism.

Good luck to all transgender people.

Cheers.

 

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Surviving Whole Foods

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kelly-maclean/surviving-whole-foods_b_3895583.html


09/16/2013

Whole Foods is like Vegas. You go there to feel good but you leave broke, disoriented, and with the newfound knowledge that you have a vaginal disease.

Unlike Vegas, Whole Foods’ clientele are all about mindfulness and compassion… until they get to the parking lot. Then it’s war. As I pull up this morning, I see a pregnant lady on the crosswalk holding a baby and groceries. This driver swerves around her and honks. As he speeds off I catch his bumper sticker, which says ‘NAMASTE’. Poor lady didn’t even hear him approaching because he was driving a Prius. He crept up on her like a panther.

As the great, sliding glass doors part I am immediately smacked in the face by a wall of cool, moist air that smells of strawberries and orchids. I leave behind the concrete jungle and enter a cornucopia of organic bliss; the land of hemp milk and honey. Seriously, think about Heaven and then think about Whole Foods; they’re basically the same.

The first thing I see is the great wall of kombucha — 42 different kinds of rotten tea. Fun fact: the word kombucha is Japanese for ‘I gizzed in your tea.’ Anyone who’s ever swallowed the glob of mucus at the end of the bottle knows exactly what I’m talking about. I believe this thing is called “The Mother,” which makes it that much creepier.

Next I see the gluten-free section filled with crackers and bread made from various wheat-substitutes such as cardboard and sawdust. I skip this aisle because I’m not rich enough to have dietary restrictions. Ever notice that you don’t meet poor people with special diet needs? A gluten intolerant house cleaner? A cab driver with Candida? Candida is what I call a rich, white person problem. You know you’ve really made it in this world when you get Candida. My personal theory is that Candida is something you get from too much hot yoga. All I’m saying is if I were a yeast, I would want to live in your yoga pants.

Next I approach the beauty aisle. There is a scary looking machine there that you put your face inside of and it tells you exactly how ugly you are. They calculate your wrinkles, sun spots, the size of your pores, etc. and compare it to other women your age. I think of myself attractive but as it turns out, I am 78 percent ugly, meaning less pretty than 78 percent of women in the world. On the popular 1-10 hotness scale used by males the world over, that makes me a 3 (if you round up, which I hope you will.) A glance at the extremely close-up picture they took of my face, in which I somehow have a glorious, blond porn mustache, tells me that 3 is about right. Especially because the left side of my face is apparently 20 percent more aged than the right. Fantastic. After contemplating ending it all here and now, I decide instead to buy their product. One bottle of delicious smelling, silky feeling creme that is maybe going to raise me from a 3 to a 4 for only $108 which is a pretty good deal when you think about it.

I grab a handful of peanut butter pretzels on my way out of this stupid aisle. I don’t feel bad about pilfering these bites because of the umpteen times that I’ve overpaid at the salad bar and been tricked into buying $108 beauty creams. The pretzels are very fattening but I’m already in the seventieth percentile of ugly so who cares.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kelly-maclean/surviving-whole-foods_b_3895583.html

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Democrats vs. the New Deal: Who really runs the party — and why it might surprise you

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2014/12/09/democrats_vs_the_new_deal_who_really_runs_the_party_and_why_it_might_surprise_you/

Dems taking pride in FDR’s historic legacy need to reckon with a basic truth: The party is now firmly anti-New Deal


Tuesday, Dec 9, 2014

In the aftermath of the shellacking they took in the midterm congressional and state elections, many Democrats are calling for their party to return to its New Deal roots.

 This is inadvertently comical.  The present-day Democratic Party has next to nothing to do with Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal or Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society.  Today’s Democratic Party is a completely different party, which coalesced between 1968 and 1980.  And this half-century-old party has been anti-New Deal from the very beginning.

Now that I have your attention, allow me to explain.

While there have been two parties called “the Democrats” and “the Republicans” since the mid-19th century, these enduring labels mask the fact that party coalitions change every generation or two.  Franklin Roosevelt created a new party under the old name of “the Democrats” by welding ex-Republican Progressives in the North together with the old Jacksonian Farmer-Labor coalition.  The contentious issue of civil rights nearly destroyed the Roosevelt Democrats in 1948 — and finally wrecked it in 1968, when George Wallace’s third party campaign proved to be a way-station for many working-class whites en route from the Democrats to the Republicans.

Today’s Democratic Party, in contrast, took shape between 1968 and 1980.  Although George McGovern lost the 1972 presidential race to Richard Nixon in a landslide, the McGovernites of the “New Politics” movement wrested control of the Democratic Party from the old state politicians and urban bosses of the Roosevelt-to-Johnson New Deal coalition.  Robert Kennedy’s aide Fred Dutton, one of the architects of the disempowerment of the old New Deal elite, called for a new coalition of young people, college-educated suburbanites and minorities in his 1971 book “Changing Sources of Power: Politics in the 1970s.”  Sound familiar?  That’s because, nearly half a century later, the same groups are the core constituents of today’s Democrats.

Jimmy Carter was the first New Politics president (or New Democrat or neoliberal, as they were later called).  He was a center-right Southern governor who ran against big government and touted his credentials as a rich businessman.  He did not get along with organized labor, one of the key constituencies of the Roosevelt Democrats.  His major domestic policy achievement was dismantling New Deal regulation of transportation like trucking and air travel.  He appointed a Federal Reserve chairman from Wall Street, Paul Volcker, who created an artificial recession, the worst between the Great Depression and the Great Recession, to cripple American unions, whose wage demands were blamed for inflation.

Even before Carter’s election, the Democratic “class of ’74” in Congress wrested power from the old largely Southern politicians of the New Deal era. The  northern Irish Catholic-Southern alliance, symbolized by House Speakers Tip O’Neill and Jim Wright, gave way among congressional Democrats to a new Northeastern-West Coast domination, beginning with Democratic House Speaker Tom Foley, of the state of Washington.  Many of these younger Democrats were deficit hawks, like Bill Bradley of New York and Paul Tsongas of Massachusetts.  Democrats like these supported the 1983 Social Security “reform,” which cut Social Security benefits by raising the formal retirement age from 65 to 67.  In his 1984 presidential campaign, Carter’s former vice-president, Fritz Mondale, made deficit reduction his central issue.

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2014/12/09/democrats_vs_the_new_deal_who_really_runs_the_party_and_why_it_might_surprise_you/

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