Boy Scouts Finally Opens Its Doors to Transgender Boys

From HRC:

By HRC staff
January 30, 2017

Tonight, HRC praised the news that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is finally opening its doors to transgender boys.

In 2015, the Boy Scouts of America passed a policy barring discrimination against its employees based on sexual orientation, but not on gender identity. The policy also still allowed church-organized local units to consider an individual’s sexual orientation when deciding who can volunteer and lead Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops, and Venturing crews.

HRC called on the organization to adopt a policy of full LGBTQ inclusion for both employees and volunteers.

The former policy only allowed boys to join the Boy Scouts who were listed as male on their birth certificate, while the new policy will admit any boy to the organization whose parents list their gender as male on their application. This marks a significant policy shift, and will allow transgender boys whose parents cannot change or have not changed their son’s gender on their birth certificate.

The news today comes as one New Jersey family has been fighting back after their son, an 8-year-old boy, was kicked out of the Cub Scouts because he is transgender.

Both the Girl Scouts of the United States of America and the Boy Scouts of America now allow transgender youth into their organizations. Together, the organizations have more than four million youth members nationwide.

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Boy Scouts Finally Opens Its Doors to Transgender Boys

Texas Mayor Jess Herbst Comes Out As Transgender

From Huffington Post:

“Society finally has a chance to see and learn about who we are.”

Ed Mazza

Eight months after taking office, the mayor of a small town in Texas has come out as transgender.

“As your Mayor I must tell you about something that has been with me since my earliest memories,” New Hope Mayor Jess Herbst wrote in an open letter on the town’s website. “I am Transgender.”

She is believed to be the first openly transgender mayor in Texas, The Texas Observer reported.

Herbst has been documenting her journey on the blog, She told The Huffington Post that the reaction to her news has been overwhelmingly positive.

“I have received emails congratulating me, calling me brave and even one expressing pride in living in a town with a mayor like me,” Herbst said. “I never hoped for more than simple tolerance, the outpouring of support is unprecedented.”

In the open letter to the town, Herbst pointed to the growing number of trans figures in the media, including Olympic gold medalist Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox of “Orange Is The New Black.”

“Society finally has a chance to see and learn about who we are,” she wrote.

Herbst also discussed the support she had received from her family:

“It is gender identity not sexual preference that applies to me. I love my wife, and she loves me, we have no intention of change. My daughters have been adamant supporters of me and are proud to tell people their father is transgender.”

“I live my life as a female now, and I will be performing my duties to the town as such,” Herbst wrote. She also invited constituents to email her and encouraged them to come to town council meetings.

New Hope, which has 640 registered voters, is located in one of the state’s most conservative suburban regions, about 40 miles northeast of Dallas.

Complete article at:

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Texas Mayor Jess Herbst Comes Out As Transgender

Totalitarianism in the age of Trump: lessons from Hannah Arendt

From The Guardian UK:

The political theorist who wrote about the Nazis and ‘the banality of evil’ in the 60s has become a surprise bestseller. Should we heed her warning that protesting just feeds the chaos?

Wednesday 1 February 2017

In the scramble to make sense of the post-inauguration world, Amazon has been forced to restock a few key titles: Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four hit No 1 at the end of last week, after Trump’s adviser Kellyanne Conway used the phrase “alternative facts” in place of “some bullshit I just made up”. But the surprise hit – being long, complex and demanding or, as the online magazine Jezebel described it, “extremely metal” – is Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism, first published in 1951. Commentators have been referencing the work since Donald Trump’s election in November but rarely has this spurred so many people to actually buy a copy.

In it, the political theorist (she always explicitly rejected the term “philosopher”) details the trajectory: “antisemitism (not merely hatred of Jews), imperialism (not merely conquest), totalitarianism (not merely dictatorship)” are considered in their interrelation. Against the necessary background of imperialism, “antisemitism became the catalytic agent first for the rise of the Nazi movement … then for a world war of unparalleled ferocity and, finally, for the emergence of the unprecedented crime of genocide”. That much is well established; the chill is in the detail.

When she describes the rise of the dictator, which requires a mass not a mob, you could be reading a sociologist’s thesis about Trump supporters. “The term masses applies only where we deal with people who either because of sheer numbers, or indifference, or a combination of both, cannot be integrated into any organisation based on common interest, into political parties or municipal governments or professional organisations or trade unions. Potentially, they exist in every country and form the majority of those large numbers of neutral, politically indifferent people who never join a party and hardly ever go to the polls.”

She describes, quite brusquely, antisemitism at its incipience: “Whereas anti-Jewish sentiments were widespread among the educated classes of Europe throughout the 19th century, antisemitism as an ideology remained, with very few exceptions, the prerogative of crackpots in general and the lunatic fringes in particular.” Yet however you dismissed their mental capacity, this hardcore created the ideological infrastructure on which a mass movement could be built. It is strikingly reminiscent of John Naughton’s description on David Runciman’s interesting Talking Politics podcast about the “alt-right”: “People who belonged loosely to this side of the political system were essentially excluded from public discourse. But it just so happened, they didn’t go quiet. They went to the net. So, for the best part of 20 years, a network of rightwing echo chambers has been established, upon which was built the infrastructure of Trump’s campaign.”

Two points come out of that. First, that we can see from the comparison that the net isn’t responsible for everything. Antisemites found ways to keep their ideas alive and generative without any such advantage, and with all the same forces of conservatism and common sense ranged against them. Second, as Runciman asks, what happened to the leftwing networks? Why don’t we have effective echo chambers? It is a question that all of us have been asking, one way or another; there is no shortage of radicalism on the left.

Here, Arendt brings some liberating insight, described in precis by Professor Griselda Pollock, an expert in Arendt. “She talks of the creation of pan movements, these widespread ideas that overarch national, political and ethnic elements – the two big pan movements she talks about are bolshevism and nazism. There is a single explanation for everything, and before the single explanation, everything else falls away. She gives a portrait of how you produce these isolated people, who then become susceptible to pan ideologies, which give them a place in something. But the place they have is ultimately sacrificial; they don’t count for anything; all that counts is the big idea.” The left, in other words, isn’t necessarily unequal to the task of creating a pan-ideology; but anyone who believed in pluralism or complexity would have no currency on this terrain. We should be glad not to have been effective in this space, even if it feels like a failure.

Continue reading at:

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Totalitarianism in the age of Trump: lessons from Hannah Arendt