Friday Night Fun and Culture: Kat Edmonson

ISIS Show Video destroy artefacts with sledgehammers at Mosul museum

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No to Prison Industrial Complex: San Francisco’s Trans Community Responds to Brutal Murders

Weird contradiction,  don’tcha think… Catching and punishing murderers and assailants generally means putting the evil bastards behind bars, hopefully for many years.  Hate crimes laws tack additional years onto what should already be long sentences and in the case of murders put the death penalty on the table.

But then again I’ve never seen any charm or sanity come out of San Francisco.  Even years ago I found the city to be an ugly brutal city that made life especially hard for trans-women.  Great place to be a gay man, sucky place to be a woman who was unfortunate enough to have been born transsexual.

From Truth Out:  http://truth-out.org/news/item/29256-no-to-prison-industrial-complex-sf-trans-community-s-response-to-seven-brutal-transgender-murders-in-2015

By Toshio Meronek
Wednesday, 25 February 2015

On Monday, February 2, Taja Gabrielle de Jesus was found stabbed to death in a stairwell in the Bayview neighborhood of San Francisco. She’s one of seven transgender women, most of whom were of color, reported to be murdered in the US since the beginning of 2015.

Danielle Castro is Taja’s adoptive sister. “Every time I think of her, I keep imagining her fighting for her life, and I just keep getting this graphic image of what she went through, Castro says. “And I don’t want to remember her that way.”

Typical responses in horrible situations like this one include angry demands for the killer to be locked up. More police. Stronger hate crimes laws.

But activists like Castro believe that these are most certainly not the way the community will find real safety, noting that trans people face high rates of abuse by police and correctional officers, and are often turned away by gendered social service operators such as battered women’s shelters and drug rehab centers.

Castro was one of the dozens of trans women of color who staged a die-in at the San Francisco City Hall on February 10, as several hundred allies gathered nearby. Another was Janetta Johnson of the Transgender, Gender Variant, and Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP). Her organization, operating on a shoestring budget of well under $100,000 per year as mainstream gay rights groups like the Human Rights Campaign monopolize funding for LGBTQ issues, is one of the few resources geared toward the thousands of currently and formerly incarcerated trans people around the country. “We’re kind of like a population of people who have been left behind,” she says.

Anger is part of what spurred 300 or so people to turn up at City Hall in the middle of a weekday to demand more attention around the extreme rates of violence against trans people, especially trans people of color (Murders of community members are so common that in several hundred cities around the world, Trans Day of Remembrance vigils are held to commemorate the many lives cut short each year). But the group calling itself Taja’s Coalition is fueling their rage into a call for a not-so-typical kind of justice: safe, affordable, accessible housing and reentry programs for trans people in San Francisco. “I’m not requesting anyone go fishing for us, but I’m asking people to teach us how to fish, you know what I’m saying?” Johnson says.

At the same time, Taja’s Coalition is also uniting against the local sheriff’s plans for a new jail. The group doesn’t believe that state “tough-on-crime” solutions are making trans people safer.

Continue reading at:  http://truth-out.org/news/item/29256-no-to-prison-industrial-complex-sf-trans-community-s-response-to-seven-brutal-transgender-murders-in-2015

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If Our Sons Were Treated Like Our Daughters

A perfect illustration of how gender is constructed and indoctrinated. Maybe it is time to stop with all the gender and gender identity nonsense and start referring to that sense of self that tells us we are male or female, women or men as core sex identity instead of gender identity.

Gender roles differ with time and cultures.  The sense of self as male or female transcends cultures and eras.

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lori-day/if-our-sons-were-treated-like-our-daughters_b_6698346.html

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Paul Krugman on Why Republicans Worship ‘Quacks and Charlatans’

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/economy/paul-krugman-why-republicans-worship-quacks-and-charlatans

Getting things epically wrong and denying reality gains you points in today’s GOP.

By Janet Allon
February 20, 2015

Today’s GOP is a kind of bizarro world where ambitious politicians are forced to pledge allegiance to experts who have gotten just about everything wrong. So writes Paul Krugman in his column Friday, who laments the fact that “charlatans and cranks” have gained increasing favor in the party, despite, or maybe even because of, the fact that they get things wrong, and then, by golly, stick to their guns.

This being Krugman, the topic is economics, specifically “supply-siders,” a group which even N. Gregory Mankiw, a professor at Harvard who served for a time as George W. Bush’s chief economic adviser, made fun of when their belief that tax cuts would provide a magical elixir to the economy and miraculously fix deficits proved so very wrong.  But the fact that even a Republican adviser said this approach is bunk has had absolutely no effect on the party’s thinking. Proof: Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, a contender for the Republican presidential nomination, spoke at a dinner at Manhattan’s “21” Club this week. It was “hosted by the three most prominent supply-siders: Art Laffer (he of the curve); Larry Kudlow of CNBC; and Stephen Moore, chief economist of the Heritage Foundation. Politico pointed out that Rick Perry, the former governor of Texas, attended a similar event last month. Clearly, to be a Republican contender you have to court the powerful charlatan caucus,” Krugman writes.

Not to put too fine a point on it, Krugman adds: “A doctrine that even Republican economists consider dangerous nonsense has become party orthodoxy. And what makes this political triumph especially remarkable is that it comes just as the doctrine’s high priests have been setting new standards for utter, epic predictive failure.”

It is not merely that the supply-siders did not see the economic crisis coming, although they didn’t. Then again, lots of economists failed to see it, so Krugman gives them a mild pass on that. It’s the “post-crisis” developments that have been even more telling. “The people Mr. Walker was courting have spent years warning about the wrong things,” Krugman writes.  “‘Get ready for inflation and higher interest rates’ was the title of a June 2009 op-ed article in The Wall Street Journal by Mr. Laffer; what followed were the lowest inflation in two generations and the lowest interest rates in history. Mr. Kudlow and Mr. Moore both predicted 1970s-style stagflation.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/economy/paul-krugman-why-republicans-worship-quacks-and-charlatans

Bill Clinton pounds Republicans for ‘sitting around just begging for America to fail’

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2015/02/bill-clinton-pounds-republicans-for-sitting-around-just-begging-for-america-to-fail/


22 Feb 2015

Appearing on ABC’s This Week with his former communications director, George Stephanopoulos, former President Bill Clinton expressed dismay with the Republican Party’s attempts to destroy the Affordable Care Act, claiming that the the GOP is “sitting around just begging for America to fail.”

Addressing a clip of  Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) claiming he intends to change his references to “Obamacare” as “Hillarycare” if the national healthcare program collapses because he wants presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton “to own it,” the former president marveled at the GOP’s obsession with wanting the program to fail.

“This bill [Obamacare] has already produced a lot of good results,” Clinton explained. “Look, they are desperate for this bill to fail. Because, if it’s not a failure, everything they’ve been telling us since 1980, ‘big government’s bad,’ is wrong.”

He continued, “They so badly want it to fail. Can you remember a time in your lifetime when a major political party was sitting around just begging for America to fail? I don’t know what’s going to happen. I would be shocked if it fails. I just think when all these dire predictions don’t come out, if they don’t, I believe that pretty soon, within the next several years, it will be like Medicare and Medicaid. It will be a normal part of our lives and people will be glad it’s there.”

Complete article at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2015/02/bill-clinton-pounds-republicans-for-sitting-around-just-begging-for-america-to-fail/

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Why Trans Lives Matter to This Lesbian

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/allison-hope/why-trans-lives-matter-to_b_6731502.html

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Wal-Mart Opposes Arkansas Law Some See as Allowing LGBT Bias

From The Edge Boston:  http://www.edgeboston.com/news/national/news//172446/wal-mart_opposes_arkansas_law_some_see_as_allowing_lgbt_bias

Associated Press
Tuesday Feb 24, 2015

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. says it opposes a new law in its home state of Arkansas to ban cities and counties from expanding anti-discrimination protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

A spokesman for the world’s largest retailer on Monday said the proposal that became law earlier in the day runs counter to its beliefs and “sends the wrong message about Arkansas.” Wal-Mart is based in Bentonville in northwest Arkansas.

The measure, which takes effect later this year, bans local governments from expanding anti-discrimination ordinances beyond state law, which doesn’t include sexual orientation or gender identity.

Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson allowed the legislation to become law without his signature after citing concerns about it infringing on local control. Opponents of it had urged Wal-Mart to speak out against the measure.

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Uber: Wal-Mart on Wheels? Actually it is more like Whole Foods

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Parents Trying to Reverse Kids’ Autism By ‘Flushing Out’ Vaccines With Bogus ‘Miracle’ Bleach Enemas

Homeopath equals Quack aka Fraud aka Fake Physician

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/personal-health/parents-trying-reverse-kids-autism-flushing-out-vaccines-bogus-miracle-bleach-enemas

FDA calls the Miracle Mineral Solution product “dangerous” and “potentially life threatening.”

By Tom Boggioni
February 20, 2015

Parents seeking help with children with autism are turning to a “miracle” cure that involves giving the children enemas, using a dangerous industrial solution used for bleaching wood pulp.

According to If You Only News, parents have turned to Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS), containing sodium chlorite which is mixed with citric acid (i.e. orange juice) to make chlorine dioxide. According to the promoters, the solution, which can be taken orally or administered via an enema, can cure HIV, malaria, hepatitis, autism, acne, and cancer.

Miracle Mineral Solution is the brainchild of Jim Humble, who quit the Church of Scientology to form the Genesis II Church of Health & Healing in order to promote his “miracle” cure in Africa and Mexico.

The Food and Drug Administration disagrees with Humble’s claims and has posted a warning on their website calling the product “dangerous” and “potentially life threatening,” advising “drinking the amount recommended on product labels can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and symptoms of severe dehydration.”

Additionally, the Environmental Protection Agency warns that chronic exposure to small doses of chlorine dioxide could result in reproductive and neurodevelopmental damage, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued guidance in the use of chlorine dioxide in the workplace.

Kerri Rivera, founder of the website CD Autism (“Autism: Avoidable. Treatable. Curable.”) which promotes MMS, claims that autism is caused by yeast, parasites, viruses, and vaccines that can be flushed from the body.

On her Facebook page, Rivera — who identifies herself as a biomedical consultant and certified homeopath – keeps a running total of parents who have contacted her, saying MMS has “cured” their children of autism.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/personal-health/parents-trying-reverse-kids-autism-flushing-out-vaccines-bogus-miracle-bleach-enemas

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Anti-Vaxxers: Enjoying the Privilege of Putting Everyone at Risk

From Rolling Stone:  http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/anti-vaxxers-enjoying-the-privilege-of-putting-everyone-at-risk-20150219

If you’re doing well enough, your bad decisions will probably only hurt someone else

By
February 19, 2015

I like to think that I am not prone to irrational fear. Flying worries me, but mostly because I’m stuck inside a metal cigar tube hurtling five miles above ground at 300-plus mph. Tall bridges unnerve me, on a similar “radically denaturing into a crushed pizza” basis. I was in a 6.9 earthquake and a Category 4 hurricane and am fond of neither for what would appear to be perfectly adequate reasons.

On the other hand, I’ve been sort of shot at — and once had a drunk good ol’ boy reach behind his back for what he most certainly wanted me to think was a gun — and apart from those two instances have never thought, “I need to orient my life around gun anxiety.” On matters of terror attacks, car theft, burglary, giant snakes, killer bees or numerically obsessed serial killers, I am imperturbable. I live across the street from alligators, and I only wish they were larger so that the neighborhood cats might be fewer. SARS, necrotizing fasciitis, Mekong whiskey and Hong Kong Flu do not exercise me.

That said, the United States’ recent entirely optional measles outbreak, even at this early stage of fraught potential, is seriously fucking with my life, fucking with my son’s life, and making everything fucking anxious. I don’t think I’m out of line in saying privileged assholes are to blame.

* * *

If there is one thing the anti-vaccination movement has taught us, it’s that correlation does not equal causation. That being said, let us stipulate a few points. One, that a virus declared essentially eliminated in 2000 does not make a roaring comeback in 15 years without intervening acts. Two, that huge chunks of licensed medical professionals did not all forget how to properly administer injections, the correctly administered remainder of which did not all spontaneously fail. Three, that there’s a relationship between all the people who skipped giving their kids the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine and their kids getting measles, especially since those are the kids who keep getting it.

Whence the anti-vaxxers? Their current movement goes back to a 1998 Lancet article and personal comments by (former) doctor Andrew Wakefield, linking autism and the MMR vaccine. Many people rightly felt disinclined to give their kids autism via a shot, but that paper has since been withdrawn and Wakefield stripped of his medical license, which seems like it could be important! Wakefield’s study featured, at best, a fatuously small sample size, and its conclusions could not be replicated. Worse, some of Wakefield’s patients were recruited by attorneys looking to sue MMR vaccine manufacturers.

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Bernie Sanders’ dire warning: Billionaire Kochs will have more power than both Dems and GOP

Add in Bloomberg and Soros plus the Waltons and you have way too much power in the hands of way too few people.  When that happens Fascism rises.  Interestingly the urge to rebel is seen on both the left and the right.  Often  the two seem separated by what are mainly issues of distraction such as same sex marriage or gun ownership, not to mention race and now matters of “identity”.

Cui bono? Who Benefits?

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2015/02/bernie-sanders-dire-warning-billionaire-kochs-will-have-more-power-than-both-dems-and-gop/


22 Feb 2015

Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is warning Americans that two ultra-conservative billionaire brothers will soon hold more political power than both the Democratic and Republican Parties.

While speaking to a group of supporters in Iowa last week, Sanders explained why he was considering a run for the president of the United States in 2016.

“It is likely in a very short period of time that the Koch brothers themselves will have a stronger political presence than either the Democratic or the Republican Party,” the lawmaker noted. “I am prepared to take on the billionaire class.”

Sanders said that a lot of his supporters have pleaded with him to “stay out of the damn Democratic Party” if he decides to run for president.

“I don’t want to tilt at windmills,” he told ABC News in an interview that aired on Sunday. “But I just think that out there, there are so many people who are hurting, so many people who are disillusioned, so many people are really viscerally upset that they’re working longer hours for low wages and the billionaires are getting richer, and they need a voice.”

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Why We’re All Becoming Independent Contractors

From Robert Reich:  http://robertreich.org/post/111784272135

Robert Reich
Sunday, February 22, 2015

GM is worth around $60 billion, and has over 200,000 employees. Its front-line workers earn from $19 to $28.50 an hour, with benefits.

Uber is estimated to be worth some $40 billion, and has 850 employees. Uber also has over 163,000 drivers (as of December – the number is expected to double by June), who average $17 an hour in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., and $23 an hour in San Francisco and New York.

But Uber doesn’t count these drivers as employees. Uber says they’re “independent contractors.”

What difference does it make?

For one thing, GM workers don’t have to pay for the machines they use. But Uber drivers pay for their cars – not just buying them but also their maintenance, insurance, gas, oil changes, tires, and cleaning. Subtract these costs and Uber drivers’ hourly pay drops considerably.

For another, GM’s employees get all the nation’s labor protections.

These include Social Security, a 40-hour workweek with time-and-a-half for overtime, worker health and safety, worker’s compensation if  injured on the job, family and medical leave, minimum wage, pension protection, unemployment insurance, protection against racial or gender discrimination, and the right to bargain collectively.

Not to forget Obamacare’s mandate of employer-provided healthcare.

Uber workers don’t get any of these things. They’re outside the labor laws.

Uber workers aren’t alone. There are millions like just them, also outside the labor laws — and their ranks are growing. Most aren’t even part of the new Uberized “sharing” economy.

They’re franchisees, consultants, and free lancers.

Continue reading at:  http://robertreich.org/post/111784272135

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Guess Which “Liberal” State Has 500 Laws Aimed at Oppressing the Homeless?

Rhetoric aside if one is poor there isn’t that much difference between Red States and Blue States.  NYC, LA and SF are some of the worst places to be poor and struggling.

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/guess-which-liberal-state-has-500-laws-aimed-oppressing-homeless

On the heels of a damning new report, the Right to Rest campaign pushes for statewide legislation to stop discrimination against homeless people.

By Alyssa Figueroa
February 18, 2015

Cities in the United States have a long history of criminalizing the public presence of people they consider undesirable. In the late 1800s, Southern cities established “sundown towns,” laws that restricted black people from being outside after sunset. Throughout the 19th century, cities ratified “ugly laws,” banning people who were diseased or deformed from being outside. During the Great Depression, California cities passed an “anti-Okie” law, making it illegal to assist poor people entering the state.

Today, society’s target is homeless people. Beginning in the 1980s when the federal government slashed the affordable housing budget, cities have enacted thousands of laws to criminalize basic human needs such as resting, sleeping, standing, and sitting, as well as acts like panhandling and food sharing.

That’s why the Western Regional Advocacy Project, a network of homeless advocacy groups on the West Coast, is pushing to pass the Right to Rest Act in Oregon, Colorado and California this year. The act, the first of its kind, would protect all residents’ right to rest, allowing people to occupy and use public spaces without fear of discrimination. The legislation was written based off interviews with more than 1,400 homeless people. It would also serve as a model legislation that could be enacted in every state across the nation.

While representatives in Oregon and Colorado are sponsoring the bill, no one has yet been willing to sponsor the bill in California. February 27 is the last day for the bill to be introduced into the legislature for this session—meaning if no one puts their name on it, the act is out for this year. The final push to get the Right to Rest Act introduced in California comes on the heels of a new research report revealing the extent of the criminalization of homelessness.

Paul Boden, executive director of WRAP, said, “The fact that we have the most in-depth research by far in California and we’re having the hardest time by far getting a sponsor for the bill is a really sad statement about the politics of business and gentrification in the state.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/guess-which-liberal-state-has-500-laws-aimed-oppressing-homeless

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Are America’s High Rates of Mental Illness Actually Based on Sham Science?

By the way it isn’t just the Pharmaceutical Industry that creates “mental illness categories” as a money making scam it is the entire Psychiatric Industrial Complex. The PIC operates more as a religion than as a science, with politically driven decisions as to whether or not things like homosexuality are mental illnesses or not.  In the Brave New World Order people who rebel or refuse to conform to the rigid dictates of social conformity are mentally ill.  In the Brave New World Order gender role conformity determines whether one is a man or a woman and actual physical sex is treated as a historical artifact.

When it comes to the worship of the Psychiatric Industrial Complex I am a skeptic if not a full-fledged atheist.  You see I don’t believe being a book worm or nerd or socially inept means you have Asperger’s syndrome and are sort of autistic. I actually believe some people are evil and do monstrous things.  I don’t believe they are mentally ill and deserve compassionate treatment which will redeem them.

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/personal-health/are-americas-high-rates-mental-illness-actually-based-sham-science

The real purpose behind many of these statistics is to change our attitudes and political positions.

By Rob Wipond
February 18, 2015

About one in five American adults (18.6%) has a mental illness in any given year, according to recent statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health. This statistic has been widely reported with alarm and concern. It’s been used to back up demands for more mental health screening in schools, more legislation to forcibly treat the unwilling, more workplace psychiatric interventions, and more funding for the mental health system. And of course, personally, whenever we or someone we know is having an emotional or psychological problem, we now wonder, is it a mental illness requiring treatment? If one in five of us have one….

But what NIMH quietly made disappear from its website is the fact that this number actually represented a dramatic drop. “An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older — about one in four adults — suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year,” the NIMH website can still be found to say in Archive.org’s Wayback Machine. Way back, that is, in 2013.

A reduction in the prevalence of an illness by eight percent of America’s population—25 million fewer victims in one year—is extremely significant. So isn’t that the real story? And isn’t it also important that India recently reported that mental illnesses affect 6.5% of its population, a mere one-third the US rate?

And that would be the real story, if any of these statistics were even remotely scientifically accurate or valid. But they aren’t. They’re nothing more than manipulative political propaganda.

Pharmaceutical companies fund the tests

First, that 18.6% is comprised of a smaller group who have “serious” mental illness and are functionally impaired (4.1%), and a much larger group who are “mildly to moderately” mentally ill and not functionally impaired by it­. Already, we have to wonder how significant a lot of these “mental illnesses” are, if they don’t at all impair someone’s functioning.

NIMH also doesn’t say how long these illnesses last. We only know that, sometime in the year, 18.6% of us met criteria for a mental illness of some duration. But if some depressions or anxieties ­last only a week or month, then it’s possible that at any time as few as 1-2% of the population are mentally ill. That’s a much less eye-popping number that, critics like Australian psychiatrist Jon Jureidini argue, is more accurate.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/personal-health/are-americas-high-rates-mental-illness-actually-based-sham-science

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BU researchers find biological basis for transgender identity

From The Daily Free Press:  http://dailyfreepress.com/2015/02/18/bu-researchers-find-biological-basis-for-transgender-identity/

February 18, 2015

Researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine published a review concluding that there is a biological basis for transgender identity, according to a Friday press release.

The review, published in the journal Endocrine Practice on Feb. 9, contests the notion that transgender people choose what gender they prefer. Evidence that gender has a biological basis may improve health care, including surgery and hormone treatment, for transgender patients, the release stated.

Joshua Safer, the lead researcher and a professor at BUSM, said doctors are often overwhelmed when dealing with transgender patients. Medical practitioners often prefer to direct such patients toward psychological counseling, he said.

“It is still the case that the largest barrier for transgender [individuals] getting medical care is the lack of access to physicians who are knowledgeable and comfortable providing that care,” he said. “What’s concerning these providers is a sense that [treating them] is too complicated, and that they think this is a mental health concern.”

Gender identity disorders affect as many as 1 in 100 people, the release stated.

Jamie Weinand, a second-year BUSM student who also worked on the study, said the most difficult part of the study is the current nature of the field.

“There is not enough research being done currently on the health of gender identity minorities, including those who identify as transgender, and hopefully we can see this change in the future,” he wrote in an email.

Weinand said he is openly transgender, and it has been a special experience to help guide the research on transgender health.

“We need to reverse this trend of transgender people receiving inadequate and uniformed care,” he said. “As a trans-guy, it means a lot to learn more about transgender health and to bring this topic more in the open among medical providers.”

Safer said this conclusion could alter the way physicians work with transgender patients or patients that are born with a gender they do not align with.

Continue reading at:  http://dailyfreepress.com/2015/02/18/bu-researchers-find-biological-basis-for-transgender-identity/

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Friday Night Fun and Culture: Alabama Shakes

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Sex redefined

From Nature:  http://www.nature.com/news/sex-redefined-1.16943

The idea of two sexes is simplistic. Biologists now think there is a wider spectrum than that.

Claire Ainsworth
18 February 2015

As a clinical geneticist, Paul James is accustomed to discussing some of the most delicate issues with his patients. But in early 2010, he found himself having a particularly awkward conversation about sex.

A 46-year-old pregnant woman had visited his clinic at the Royal Melbourne Hospital in Australia to hear the results of an amniocentesis test to screen her baby’s chromosomes for abnormalities. The baby was fine — but follow-up tests had revealed something astonishing about the mother. Her body was built of cells from two individuals, probably from twin embryos that had merged in her own mother’s womb. And there was more. One set of cells carried two X chromosomes, the complement that typically makes a person female; the other had an X and a Y. Halfway through her fifth decade and pregnant with her third child, the woman learned for the first time that a large part of her body was chromosomally male1. “That’s kind of science-fiction material for someone who just came in for an amniocentesis,” says James.

Sex can be much more complicated than it at first seems. According to the simple scenario, the presence or absence of a Y chromosome is what counts: with it, you are male, and without it, you are female. But doctors have long known that some people straddle the boundary — their sex chromosomes say one thing, but their gonads (ovaries or testes) or sexual anatomy say another. Parents of children with these kinds of conditions — known as intersex conditions, or differences or disorders of sex development (DSDs) — often face difficult decisions about whether to bring up their child as a boy or a girl. Some researchers now say that as many as 1 person in 100 has some form of DSD2.

When genetics is taken into consideration, the boundary between the sexes becomes even blurrier. Scientists have identified many of the genes involved in the main forms of DSD, and have uncovered variations in these genes that have subtle effects on a person’s anatomical or physiological sex. What’s more, new technologies in DNA sequencing and cell biology are revealing that almost everyone is, to varying degrees, a patchwork of genetically distinct cells, some with a sex that might not match that of the rest of their body. Some studies even suggest that the sex of each cell drives its behaviour, through a complicated network of molecular interactions. “I think there’s much greater diversity within male or female, and there is certainly an area of overlap where some people can’t easily define themselves within the binary structure,” says John Achermann, who studies sex development and endocrinology at University College London’s Institute of Child Health.

These discoveries do not sit well in a world in which sex is still defined in binary terms. Few legal systems allow for any ambiguity in biological sex, and a person’s legal rights and social status can be heavily influenced by whether their birth certificate says male or female.

“The main problem with a strong dichotomy is that there are intermediate cases that push the limits and ask us to figure out exactly where the dividing line is between males and females,” says Arthur Arnold at the University of California, Los Angeles, who studies biological sex differences. “And that’s often a very difficult problem, because sex can be defined a number of ways.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.nature.com/news/sex-redefined-1.16943

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Finally, Some Reliable Research on Trans Kids Like Mine

From The Advocate:  http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2015/02/11/op-ed-finally-some-reliable-research-trans-kids-mine

My child is a member of the first generation of kids allowed to live transgender lives from a very young age. Until now, we parents have been making it up as we go along.

BY  Marlo Mack
February 11 2015

When the suicide of transgender teen Leelah Alcorn made headlines last month, my friends with nontransgender children made a point of congratulating me on my parenting: “That won’t happen to your child because you’re doing it differently,” they said. Perhaps that’s true, but I don’t yet know for sure. The fact is that no one really does.

My child, at age 3, told me she was a girl. She looked me in the eyes and said, “Mama, something went wrong in your tummy that made me come out as a boy instead of a girl.” She wanted to go back inside me so she could come out again as a girl.

Since age 2, she’d been begging me to dress her in the pretty clothes she saw little girls wearing and had been obsessed with the things little girls often love, like princesses and fairies and the color pink. At first I assumed the whole thing was a phase. I said she could like pink and play with dolls, but that she had a boy body, so she was a boy. When she kept asserting her girlhood, I did what parents do — I went looking for advice from the experts. I took my child to our pediatrician and more than one therapist, including a psychologist who specialized in working with kids like mine — boys who feel like girls, girls who feel like boys.

I was desperate for answers to my long list of questions: Should I actually let my child switch genders at age 4, or should I mandate life as a boy? What were the chances that my child would change their mind? And would there be long-term damage if we switched from boy to girl and then back to boy? On the other hand, what were the risks of forcing the kid to continue to live as a boy when such a thing caused my child so much misery?

In every case, the experts I consulted had the same response to my questions. They didn’t know. They shrugged their shoulders apologetically, made some vague recommendations, and admitted that there wasn’t really any reliable research on kids like mine.

Continue reading at:  http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2015/02/11/op-ed-finally-some-reliable-research-trans-kids-mine

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New Transgender Hospital Program Introduced To Dallas

From CBS Dallas:  http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2015/02/12/new-transgender-hospital-program-introduced-to-dallas/

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Children’s Medical Center in Dallas has unveiled the first pediatric transgender program in the Southwest.

15 year old Kammie is the first person to publicly speak about the program and she is not releasing her last name.

“I’ve dealt with ridicule. I’ve dealt with my whole family just kind of disowning me because they didn’t under it” says Kammie.

Kammie’s mother says it has been a difficult transition that she first noticed when her son, Cameron, was about 18 months old and preferred playing with girls’ toys. “I grew up a very devout member of the church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints” says Christina Pippin, Kammie’s mother. “I was excommunicated when I made the decision to embrace my child. But I was going to embrace my child before I was ever going to lose her” Pippin says.

Children’s Medical Center call is the GENECIS program – the Gender Education and Care, Interdisciplinary Support Program. According to the hospital it focuses on helping children and teens with issues surrounding gender dysphoria, when a person does not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth. Doctors say Gender dysphoria is frequently associated with mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.

“They feel like they don’t belong to either gender, so when they’re very young, it’s hard” says Dr. Ximena Lopez, Endocrinology for Children’s Medical Center. “They’ve gone through very stressful puberty and at that time they have attempted to kill themselves, a lot of times, and so I think parental support is key.”

“There was no point in living an unhappy life and so then I started contemplating suicide” says Kammie. “You know that’s a big thing with transgender children because it’s not openly talked about around schools and places like that” she adds.

Continue reading at:  http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2015/02/12/new-transgender-hospital-program-introduced-to-dallas/

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