U.S. Army Has Yet Another Out Trans Member

From The Advocate:

Jamie Lee Henry joins a handful of other out transgender soldiers proving they are fit to serve.

BY  Mitch Kellaway
June 11 2015

Slowly but surely, stories of transgender people serving openly in the U.S. military are emerging, each heralding a new step of progress in overturning the institutuion’s ban on open trans military service.

This week, Buzzfeed introduced the world to a trans woman serving openly while an active-duty Army officer, Jamie Lee Henry, who has the distinction of being the first known servicemember to change her name and gender within the U.S. armed forces.

A 32-year-old trans woman who serves as a doctor and major in the Army Medical Corps, Henry shared with the news site how she’s been able to remain serving, in part: with the clear support of her commanding officers. When she came out as trans three years ago and faced familial upheaval — which eventually included divorce and a brief stint of homelessness — Henry said her then-commander helped keep her career on track and even temporarily housed her.

When last fall she began to take steps to medically transition, Henry said her new commander backed her too. “My commander said, ‘I don’t care who you love, I don’t care how you identify, I want you to be healthy and I want you to be able to do your job,” she recalled to Buzzfeed. Henry said she expected to be considered a “freak” and to be discharged under Department of Defense Instruction 6130.03, a regulation which dictates that any type of gender-confirming clinical, medical, or surgical treatment is evidence of “disqualifying physical and mental conditions.” Though following the instruction is not required, its common usage has kept an estimated 15,5000 transgender troops serving in silence about their gender identities.

Last last year, the Army ruled that the decision of whether to separate trans troops under this regulation would be taken out of the hands of commanding officers and elevated to the assistant secretary for manpower and reserve affairs. Even so, chains of command appear to play a key role in the  stories of each of the handful of trans servicemembers that have been able to serve openly, as shown by the stories of Jacob Eleazar, who served in the Army as TAC (Teach, Assess, Council) officer, and illustrated by The Advocate‘s exclusive interview with Army Sgt. Shane Ortega last month.

Continue reading at:  http://www.advocate.com/politics/military/2015/06/11/us-army-has-yet-another-out-trans-officer

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April Ashley: Caitlyn Jenner chose a ‘terrible’ name

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We are the Transgender Borg

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Friday Night Fun and Culture: Ornette Coleman (March 9, 1930 – June 11, 2015)

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Becoming a woman, not a girl

I am an old woman. I wear Birkenstocks and blue jeans. I wear a lot of purple and my hair is hippie long. In the hot Texas summer I sometimes chop it short. I laugh a lot and use the word fuck in many different ways. I love rock and roll along with the blues and outlaw country. I don’t wear make-up or high heels. I can mow my own lawn, hook up a complex audio video system and build my own PC.

I cowgirl up in spite of aching joints and wish the hell they would make pot legal and cheap.

To me gender has always been a way of putting limits on women and girls (See Simone de Beauvoir’s “The Second Sex”) The other night in her acceptance speech upon induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Joan Jett recalled a time when gender meant girls/women didn’t play electric guitars in rock and roll bands.

I’ve been reading Ellen Goodman for more years than I can remember

From North Jersey.com:  http://www.northjersey.com/opinion/opinion-guest-writers/becoming-a-woman-not-a-girl-1.1353919

While she was winning gold medals, many in her generation were raised on the idea that “when I am an old woman I shall wear purple.”
For many, 65 is not the new 30 but the new freedom from the extreme sport of femininity.

By Ellen Goodman
June 11, 2015

HAVE YOU noticed that the first 65-year-old cover girl on Vanity Fair was actually born a boy? Is that transsexual progress or just trans-sexism?

Yes, I am happy that Caitlyn Jenner has finally come out as a female, thereby risking her net worth. As one cartoonist suggested, she is now likely to be paid exactly 77 cents on the dollar.

More to the point, as Jon Stewart noted, the silicon-cleavaged and made-over Olympian is now the sweetheart of the Twittersphere and cable chatteratti, where people are talking about nothing but her glam girl status.

In Stewart’s words: “It’s really heartening to see that everyone is willing to not only accept Caitlyn Jenner as a woman but to waste no time in treating her like a woman. You see, Caitlyn, when you were a man, we could talk about your athleticism, your business acumen. But now you’re a woman and your looks are really the only thing we care about.” Bingo.

In that vein, let’s remember the remarks of the woman who chose the clothes for the photo shoot. The Vanity Fair dresser said: “The one thing that makes it easier to dress someone is proportion. Caitlyn’s proportions are fashion proportions, really.” She’s tall, slim, narrow-hipped, kind of ideal to dress.

Yes! A fashion designer’s dream come true!

But as an (even) older woman, may I add a little something to the sexism? A little ageism perhaps? May I ask why Caitlyn couldn’t come out as a 65-year-old woman rather than a 25-year-old starlet?

A factoid: Americans are turning 65 at the rate of 10,000 a day. If the female half of that demographic is looking for a role model, it’s not a Medicare Babe but a woman facing down the truly Olympic challenge of aging gracefully.

The fashion industry basically stops at Forever 21. The shoe designers loved and left us like heels.

Mirren, Streep, Bergen

If we need to go Hollywood to cast an iconic older woman, couldn’t we have Helen Mirren at 69 or Meryl Streep at 65? Or better yet, Candice Bergen at 69, who admits to being 30 pounds over her Murphy Brown weight? “I live to eat,” she announces. “No carb is safe — no fat, either.” Being overweight is probably more of a challenge in this culture than bending gender. You go, girl.

Instead, Caitlyn looks more like Gloria Swanson in “Sunset Boulevard,” playing an over-the-hill actress when she was only 50!

The editors of Vanity Fair were not the only ones who transformed the former Bruce into their fantasy Caitlyn. Where, oh, where was photographer Annie Leibowitz in all this? What was she thinking? At 65 herself, the long-term companion of the late uber-intellectual Susan Sontag, Leibowitz surely has more to say and show about aging than her ingénue subject.

Well, here’s the thing. I am sorry that Caitlyn missed out on being a 20- or 30-year-old woman. But I wish she could catch up.

Complete article at:  http://www.northjersey.com/opinion/opinion-guest-writers/becoming-a-woman-not-a-girl-1.1353919

I’m a liberal professor, and my liberal students terrify me

From Vox:  http://www.vox.com/2015/6/3/8706323/college-professor-afraid

by Edward Schlosser
June 3, 2015

I’m a professor at a midsize state school. I have been teaching college classes for nine years now. I have won (minor) teaching awards, studied pedagogy extensively, and almost always score highly on my student evaluations. I am not a world-class teacher by any means, but I am conscientious; I attempt to put teaching ahead of research, and I take a healthy emotional stake in the well-being and growth of my students.

Things have changed since I started teaching. The vibe is different. I wish there were a less blunt way to put this, but my students sometimes scare me — particularly the liberal ones.

Not, like, in a person-by-person sense, but students in general. The student-teacher dynamic has been reenvisioned along a line that’s simultaneously consumerist and hyper-protective, giving each and every student the ability to claim Grievous Harm in nearly any circumstance, after any affront, and a teacher’s formal ability to respond to these claims is limited at best.

What it was like before

In early 2009, I was an adjunct, teaching a freshman-level writing course at a community college. Discussing infographics and data visualization, we watched a flash animation describing how Wall Street’s recklessness had destroyed the economy.

The video stopped, and I asked whether the students thought it was effective. An older student raised his hand.

“What about Fannie and Freddie?” he asked. “Government kept giving homes to black people, to help out black people, white people didn’t get anything, and then they couldn’t pay for them. What about that?”

I gave a quick response about how most experts would disagree with that assumption, that it was actually an oversimplification, and pretty dishonest, and isn’t it good that someone made the video we just watched to try to clear things up? And, hey, let’s talk about whether that was effective, okay? If you don’t think it was, how could it have been?

The rest of the discussion went on as usual.

The next week, I got called into my director’s office. I was shown an email, sender name redacted, alleging that I “possessed communistical [sic] sympathies and refused to tell more than one side of the story.” The story in question wasn’t described, but I suspect it had do to with whether or not the economic collapse was caused by poor black people.

My director rolled her eyes. She knew the complaint was silly bullshit. I wrote up a short description of the past week’s class work, noting that we had looked at several examples of effective writing in various media and that I always made a good faith effort to include conservative narratives along with the liberal ones.

Along with a carbon-copy form, my description was placed into a file that may or may not have existed. Then … nothing. It disappeared forever; no one cared about it beyond their contractual duties to document student concerns. I never heard another word of it again.

That was the first, and so far only, formal complaint a student has ever filed against me.

Continue reading at:  http://www.vox.com/2015/6/3/8706323/college-professor-afraid

What Makes a Woman?

I’m going to say that I am more in support of the woman who wrote this piece than I am with the Transgender Borg who are attacking her.

Anatomy is part of what makes women women.  For all the blither, blather and babble about gender those TS/TG folks who are assumed to be female aka pass are assumed by society to possess female anatomy.  It is that assumption people operate upon not some academic gender studies babble about identity.

I’m a second wave feminist, one who made her peace with Lesbian Feminism some forty years ago. Today TG folks dismiss the “Real Life Test” as antiquated but it was a crash course in socialization as a woman.  If you spend most of your life with other trans-women you get socialized as trans, hence the Trans-speak and the inability to deal with even the mildest of feminist criticism.

I am the same age as Elinor Burkett, quite probably shared many of the same social influences of Second Wave Feminism with her.

Living real life as a woman makes one a real woman. It requires one to have or be presumed to have certain anatomy.  It takes the amassing of a history of living real life as a woman, including dealing with people assuming you have been that way since birth.

For what it is worth I do not believe in male brain/female brain.  I believe how our bodies handle hormones may in some cases play a role.  I don’t know what causes core sex identity and it doesn’t relly matter.  Rights are based on being human.  Nothing else.

From The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/07/opinion/sunday/what-makes-a-woman.html

Simone de Beauvoir: 1975 Interview (English Subs)

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Ayaan Hirsi Ali vs. Jon Stewart: Islam, liberals, and the media’s dangerous double standard

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2015/06/07/no_one_exposes_western_liberals_faulty_thinking_on_islam_better_than_self_professed_%E2%80%9Cheretic%E2%80%9D_ayaan_hirsi_ali/

Progressives entangle themselves in “thickets of idiocy” trying not to judge Islam. Jon Stewart was no exception


Sunday, Jun 7, 2015

Progressive critics enamored of the semantically fraudulent junk label “Islamophobe” are de facto aiding the assassins of free-thinkers, abetting the oppressors of women, and shielding razor-happy butchers slicing off the clitorises of little girls.  And at no time do they betray the ideals for which they supposedly stand more than when they call ex-Muslims living in the West “Islamophobe.”

 To understand why, let’s examine the case of Ayaan Hirsi Ali.  No one exposes the faulty thinking, moral incoherence and double standards pervading the Western liberal reaction to Islam better than this Somali-born, self-professed “infidel” and “heretic.”  Herself a survivor of female genital mutilation, civil war and forced marriage, and, for more than a decade now, the object of Islamist death threats, Hirsi Ali deserves the respect of all who cherish free speech, equality between the sexes, and the right to profess the religion (or no religion) of one’s choosing.

Brought up a Muslim and once so devout she joined the Muslim Brotherhood, Hirsi Ali deserves, to say the least, a fair hearing when speaking of Islam.  Yet in the constitutionally secular United States, Hirsi Ali often finds her views about her former faith treated with suspicion, even contempt.  Her media appearances and publications occasion slews of sanctimoniously ignorant commentary from liberal “Islamophobia” scolds.  The publicity tour she has been making for her recent book “Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now” is no exception.

Before I proceed, a statement of what should be obvious: Islam is not a race, but a religion, one with universalist pretensions and followers of all skin colors. Understanding this, one easily sees through the linguistic sham that is the essence of “Islamophobia” and “Islamophobe,” terms that inveigle well-meaning progressives to conflate skin color with religion and impute racism to critics of a belief system.  The terms are inherently political, and serve one purpose: to squelch honest debate about Islam.  Islam, though, like all religions, is nothing but a hallowed ideology falling within the purview of free speech. People deserve respect, whatever their ideology.  The ideologies themselves?  Not necessarily.

Back to Hirsi Ali and “Heretic.”  Hirsi Ali summed up her book’s theses in an Op-Ed for the Wall Street Journal.  Radical Islam now motivates terrorism and warfare across the globe, but “by far,” she writes, “the most numerous victims of Muslim violence . . . are Muslims themselves.”  She considers it “foolish to insist, as Western leaders habitually do, that the violent acts committed in the name of Islam can somehow be divorced from the religion itself.”  Her conclusion: “Islam is not a religion of peace.”  (Italics hers.)

Hirsi Ali does not, however, contend that most Muslims are violent.  On the contrary, peaceful followers of Islam “are the clear majority throughout the Muslim world.”  But the jihadi-minded account for, by her conservative estimate, at least 3 percent of the religion’s 1.6 billion votaries, or 48 million people.  The problem, for her, lies in “the call to violence and the justification for it . . . explicitly stated in the sacred texts of Islam.”  To counter this, she proposes an Islamic reformation, one that would lead Muslims to reject their canon’s calls for violence, as do, by and large, Jews and Christians today.

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2015/06/07/no_one_exposes_western_liberals_faulty_thinking_on_islam_better_than_self_professed_%E2%80%9Cheretic%E2%80%9D_ayaan_hirsi_ali/

 

 

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