Whatever Happened to the Transgender Tipping Point?

From The Daily Beast:  http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/03/31/whatever-happened-to-the-transgender-tipping-point.html

After the optimism of 2014—the ‘Transgender Tipping Point’ as decreed by Time magazine—trans people are facing an onslaught of legislative prejudice.

Samantha Allen
03.31.17

In 2014, Time magazine announced “The Transgender Tipping Point.”

Laverne Cox adorned the cover in a blue dress.

The author of the cover story, Katy Steinmetz, declared that “another civil rights movement is poised to challenge long-held cultural norms and beliefs,” chalking up the emergence of “new policies” to the “new transparency” that transgender people were exhibiting after “emerging from the margins to fight for an equal place in society.”

The narrative was clear: Transgender visibility was good. It could change the country. And although Steinmetz herself was careful to qualify that the “transgender revolution still has a long way to go,” Time’s headline made it seem like a critical threshold had been crossed. Progress is linear, it supposed, and there is no going back.

That narrative—I am sad to say on March 31, the Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV)—is wrong.

In 2017, the White House rolled back federal guidance protecting transgender students, effectively scuttling a potentially precedent-setting Supreme Court case in the process.

There have already been at least seven reported murders of transgender people in the United States, placing it on track to be one of the most violent years on record.

And even after North Carolina reached a controversial legislative “compromise” yesterday over its “bathroom bill” under pressure from the NCAA, some Texas legislators are trying to pass a bill similar to HB2 this year.

If 2014 ever could have been described as a “Transgender Tipping Point,” we might say that we’re now in the “Transgender Dipping Point”—a moment when, despite increases in media representation, the sort of tangible progress that felt within our grasp a few years ago may now have been delayed well into the next decade or beyond.

Wherever you look, transgender people may be more visible but they are still facing the same problems in 2017 as they were in 2014.

They are still being denied life-saving health care, discriminated against at work, and harassed in public. Transgender athletes are still being stigmatized for daring to participate in sports. Cisgender actors are still being cast in transgender parts.

All the while, anti-LGBT groups have been doubling down on transphobia, fundraising around bathroom laws now that the same-sex marriage decision seems all but irreversible.

Continue reading at:  http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/03/31/whatever-happened-to-the-transgender-tipping-point.html

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The dark side of “visibility”: How we slept on trans people becoming the new scapegoats of the right

The Taliban Christian Right have decided transfolks are the perfect scapegoats.  There are some frightening parallels between their behavior and the behavior of the Nazi when they first came to power.  If you are out and or obvious you might want to consider relocating to some place safer than certain states.  It isn’t cowardly to put personal safety first.

The following was published a year ago.  It is truer today than ever.

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2016/03/30/the_dark_side_of_visibility_how_we_slept_on_trans_people_becoming_the_new_scapegoats_of_the_right/

The “transgender tipping point” was a welcome milestone—it’s also made trans adults and youth more visible targets


Wednesday, Mar 30, 2016

I was happy to hear about the International Trans Day of Visibility two years ago. I agreed with the sentiment that the Transgender Day of Remembrance in November being the only trans holiday was morbid and depressing and that celebrating happy, healthy trans lives was a positive goal. I was happy to be one of many allies pushing awareness of March 31 as a “day of visibility” last year.

Which is why I was surprised when one of my close friends, who is trans and who hadn’t heard of the holiday, responded with a scowl when I told her about it.

“My goal isn’t visibility, my goal is survival,” she said. “The Jews were extremely visible in 1930s Europe, how much good did it do them?”

Since then I’ve been thinking about the relative shallowness of “visibility” as a goal in and of itself, especially since the past two years have been one long performative celebration of trans visibility.

Caitlyn Jenner became a magazine cover girl in the name of “visibility” and has continued to do highly visible things like entering a golf tournament, blogging about her love life, starring in a reality show and speaking out in defense of Ted Cruz. We’ve had a streaming show about trans issues win a Golden Globe, we’ve had a feature film about trans issues nominated for Oscars (winning one for Best Supporting Actress). Ever since Time ran its famous May 2014 cover of Laverne Cox with the optimistic title “The Transgender Tipping Point,” everything’s been looking up for trans people, right?

Well, no.

The progression from visibility to tolerance to acceptance within the LGBT coalition has infamously been uneven between the LGB side and the T side. If one were to try to make a parallel (an extremely imperfect one) with Time’s “Transgender Tipping Point” with Laverne Cox and an earlier moment in queer history, it’d probably be something like Ellen DeGeneres and her character both coming out on Ellen in 1997 (a moment pivotal enough that there’s a website named for it).

Did the dramatic moment of a well known entertainer proudly coming out as gay on TV, with widespread support from the media and the industry, end the oppressive invisibility of gay people? Did it, as Dan Savage put it, get better?

Sure, absolutely, in the long run. But then I tend to agree with Martin Luther King that given a long enough run, yes, things get better–but what happens while we’re waiting for that long run is a much more complicated story.

Ellen coming out on TV came after a run of 1990s media garnering attention and box office dollars out of promoting “visibility” of the gay community to Middle America–whether it be dark, tragic takes on the AIDS crisis or cutesy introductions to the culture of drag and camp. There was a vanguard among the (still mostly straight) cultural elite convinced the “gay tipping point” was coming, after the bloody battles fought by ACT UP in the previous generation and at Stonewall in the generation before that.

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2016/03/30/the_dark_side_of_visibility_how_we_slept_on_trans_people_becoming_the_new_scapegoats_of_the_right/

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Don’t let establishment opportunists ruin the resistance movement

From The Guardian UK:  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/09/dont-let-establishment-opportunists-ruin-resistance-movement

As a powerful grassroots movement emerges, some want to use it for their own gain. The history of the Tea Party has important lessons on how to avoid that


Thursday 9 March 2017

The fury currently welling up against our demagogue president is a gorgeous thing. The Women’s March on Washington bowled me over by its sheer numbers. The town hall meetings calling Republican representatives to account are delicious payback for decades of phony populism. The combination of the two is one of the healthiest political developments I have seen in many years.

But opportunism never sleeps, and with the rage and the resistance of recent weeks some far less noble characters have seen a chance to develop a new con. They’re up on the resistance bandwagon right now, rending their garments, shaking their fists and praying that no one holds them responsible for the dead end into which they’ve steered us over the years. Inveighing loudly against Trump has become, for the people I am describing, a means of rescuing an ideology that has proven a disaster.

Comparing this moment with the Tea Party tells us a lot about this misdirection. In its 2009 heyday, the Tea Party represented a kind of superficial secession from the Republican party, which had discredited itself with the series of disasters we call the George W Bush presidency. Throw the old leaders out, the Tea Party seemed to demand, and start fresh.

But that’s not really what happened then, and it’s probably not going to happen with the hack politicians, million-dollar consultants and smug journalists who led Democrats to utter powerlessness this time around.

Yes, the Tea Party brought down many Republicans, but in truth it was a way of rebranding the same old Republican party without the stink of George W Bush attached. Conservative activists back then looked out over an economic disaster brought on by libertarian idealism – by a generation that worshiped bank deregulation – and insisted that what we needed was more deregulation, that we needed to go full-on free market. That’s the achievement of the Tea Party.

There is a possibility that the resistance to Trump will turn out the same way – that it will become a vehicle for our Enron Democrats to avoid accountability. “I don’t think people want a new direction,” House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said in December. Now is not the moment for infighting, others have insisted, but for unity and togetherness. Unity behind the existing leadership, that is. Changing the personnel in the C-Suites will only weaken us, they will say; hell, we can’t even afford to see our leaders criticized.

And so the thinkers of the “center left” proceed to hold their failed leaders above scrutiny and to redouble their commitment to the shabby ideology that allowed Trump to win. Former prime minister Tony Blair, the British face of Clintonism and one of the principal forces behind the Iraq war has been doing just this. Writing the other day in the New York Times, Blair used his audience’s horror at the Trump phenomenon as an excuse to urge them into battle against, yes, the left.

Continue reading at:  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/09/dont-let-establishment-opportunists-ruin-resistance-movement

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She was an ultraconservative Texas Christian. Then Kai was born and everything changed.

From Fusion:  http://fusion.net/story/393673/texas-bathroom-bill-sb6/

By Kathryn Joyce
3/26/17

On the Monday before Christmas break at an elementary school in Pearland, Texas, just south of Houston, a five-year-old girl named Kai went with the rest of her kindergarten classmates to the library. Physically slight but hugely affectionate with silky blond hair, Kai loved her teacher, her classmates, and her school.

Yet a short time later, Kai’s family claims, she was crying and standing over a puddle on the hallway floor. Accidents aren’t uncommon for kindergarteners, of course. But when Kai’s mother, Kimberly Shappley, picked her up that day, Kai was wearing different clothes than what she’d gone to school in, her original outfit was wet and balled up in her backpack, and she was distraught.

“That day she made a big deal of it, because in her mind and her heart, it was a different feeling, and she knew it was different,” said Kimberly.

Kai assured her this accident wasn’t because she’d gotten distracted playing or waited until the last minute. It was because Kai is transgender, and adults at her school took too long to figure out what bathroom she should use.

Kai’s own classroom, like all kindergarten classrooms at her school, has a single-occupancy, unisex bathroom for everyone to use. But when Kai goes to the cafeteria, library or gym, she isn’t allowed to use the regular girls’ restrooms, thanks to a confusing workaround the school district came up with last spring.

When Kimberly first approached the Pearland Independent School District last year, saying her child would be starting school in the fall and she hoped they might find a private way to accommodate her, school officials initially seemed amenable. But days after that conversation, Kimberly said, the superintendent, John Kelly, lamented to the Houston Chronicle about the “social engineering” of Obama’s Departments of Education and Justice in mandating that public schools let trans students use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity.

The May 2016 directive, clarifying that gender identity was a protected category under Title IX— the federal law that forbids sex discrimination in public schools—was an assertion of dominance from a “hostile vocal minority,” Kelly said. “What’s next? Legalizing pedophilia and polygamy?”

Continue reading at:  http://fusion.net/story/393673/texas-bathroom-bill-sb6/

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Coming Out as Transgender Made Me a More Effective CIA Officer

From The Atlantic:  https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/03/transgender-cia/520050/

An intelligence official explains how being honest with herself and her colleagues helped her serve her country.

Jenny Hall
Mar 20, 2017

I sat in a bunker hoping the incoming rocket did not have my name on it. I was a young CIA officer, called by September 11 to serve, and found myself amid generals and sheikhs, writing for presidents—the life I’d dreamed of since childhood. Drained by 18-hour days and fitful sleep, my demons flooded the moments of peace. In the dark, I heard fighting beyond the wall, thought of friends killed and wounded, and remembered my secret.

You feel explosions before you hear them, and there was a bomb at the center of my life that no one could see. I was transgender, and feared I would lose my family and friendships. It was before an Executive Order protected transgender employees, and I imagined myself ridiculed or fired if I admitted the truth. I had heard a story about what happened to one CIA officer who had taken that step:

“Once upon a time, an officer with decades of experience lost it; clearly the stress. One day he decided he was now a woman—hilarious I know—and wanted everyone to believe him. Management didn’t know what to do with the transsexual. CIA had only just accepted gays; the officer left the Agency.”

When I was a child I knew that trans-people existed, but I knew I couldn’t possibly be one of them. I was going to make history, not be some freak on television. My self-discipline and self-hatred marched in lock-step.

I bottled up my problem, and tried to live up to the CIA’s values: to “put mission before self” and “go where others cannot.” But CIA has other chiseled words: “the truth shall set you free.” How could I speak truth to power but not be honest with myself?

Sinking into depression, I built a double life; living as a woman outside work and changing genders in Langley’s unisex restrooms. My juggling act faltered at a staff meeting when a friend whispered that I had forgotten to remove my mascara.

The trans-community has a joke: “What’s the difference between a crossdresser and someone who changes genders? Two years.” The punchline ignores the trans-people who never transition or find happiness outside the gender binary. But for me, my hours as Jenny lifted a terrible sadness in my life.

If you found out you needed glasses, and discovered that the world is filled with beauty and color that you thought was just a blur, why would you ever take them off?

I finally reached the breaking point. I was failing at my job and found myself crying in the bathroom. I walked into my boss’s office and closed the door. She later told me she was relieved when I told her. From the look on my face, she thought I had cancer.

Continue reading at:  https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/03/transgender-cia/520050/

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This Whole “Are Trans Women Real Women?” Thing is Gross

From The Medium:  https://medium.com/@emmalindsay/this-whole-are-trans-women-real-women-thing-is-gross-1b15f3d7ad41

The question is not whether trans women are “real,” but what is the real motivation behind defining some women as “real?”

Emma Lindsay
March 23, 2017

One of my facebook friends posted some article on how to be an ally to trans people. Something about the article rubbed me the wrong way, but I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what — so I asked my friend why she’d posted the article. Did you find this article helpful when interacting with the trans people in your life?

She told me she didn’t know any trans people, but wanted to make clear that she was a safe person to talk to about trans issues. As it happened, she actually did know a trans person, she just didn’t know that person was trans. Apparently her method of broadcasting her “trans-safety” via facebook shares was not effective. This friend has always to me represented, like, something that is deeply wrong with liberal culture. The desire to be open minded simply for the sake of being open minded, not because you have come up against a situation that requires it, seems fairly toxic. Additionally, the belief that by dealing with something in the abstract, that by reading enough articles about it, you’ll be equipped to deal with it in real life, seems woefully misguided.

I have a few trans friends, and at times I have behaved problematically towards them. I’m not proud of it; I’m just trying to be honest. You can’t learn how to interact with people via facebook articles. You can’t get to the point where you’re this flawless ally without being a fucked up ally first. And, to get real with you, I try to be a good ally, but I still got trans women on the internet telling me how transmisogynist my writing is, so clearly I still got some shit to work on.

But, despite my problematic bigotry, a surprising number of trans people have forgiven me my issues and opened up to me about their feelings and thoughts on gender. Which, is actually a little weird in some ways.

Truth be told, early on some of my feelings on trans issues were a little TERFish. I remember talking to one of my old friends about feminism, and she said something like “a lot of feminists want to abolish gender, and I really, really don’t want to abolish gender.” She was a trans woman, and she didn’t want to abolish gender because she liked being a woman.

But… I was sort of one of those feminists who wanted to abolish gender! I was into math and science, the sports I liked were fighting sports (wrestling and jiu jitsu) and I had just suffered for a long, long time to do the things I wanted to do as a woman. And, for some chick to be like “omg, all this girly shit IS GREAT — LET’S KEEP DOING GIRLY SHIT” was very threatening to me initially. It triggered an almost instinctual panic: is some of my autonomy going to get lost if I fully embrace the trans movement?

Yet, despite my fears, I liked my friend and I saw how important this was to her, so I just rolled with it. I certainly fucked up a few times, but whenever I did, it was always accidental. Nowadays, I fuck up less because I just think of her as a woman. A quirky woman, possibly a morally questionable woman, definitely a loud woman, but mostly just a woman who is not substantially different from my other female friends.

Continue reading at:  https://medium.com/@emmalindsay/this-whole-are-trans-women-real-women-thing-is-gross-1b15f3d7ad41

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Robert Reich: The Resistance Report 3/27/2017

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Arkansas could make it ‘illegal to be transgender’ this week

From Gay Star News:  http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/arkansas-criminalize-trans-people-indecent-exposure-law/

State’s bathroom bill proposal is just the tip of a transphobic iceberg

by
27 March 2017

Trans people in Arkansas could soon lead an essentially illegal life.

State lawmakers are currently discussing three bills: House Bill 1986, House Bill 1894, and Senate Bill 774.

If all three pass, it could force trans people out of a majority of public life because their existence would effectively be illegal.

SB774 is Arkansa’s version of North Carolina’s controversial HB2 ‘bathroom bill’.

Called the Arkansas Physical Privacy and Safety Act, it would require trans people to use public bathrooms matching the gender marker on their birth certificate.

It would apply to all government and other state-owned buildings.

And it’s only the tip of an iceberg of transphobic laws.

HB 1986 would expand existing Arkansas law and allow a person to press charges against trans people under indecent exposure laws.

Indecent exposure, it argues, is any situation where someone ‘knowingly exposes his or her sex organs to a person of the opposite biological sex: (A) In a public place or in public view; or (B) Under circumstances in which the person could reasonably believe the conduct is likely to cause affront or alarm.’

The law could, for example, ban trans men who had top surgery from going shirtless anywhere in public.

‘If a transgender man has top surgery, his chest could be viewed as a sexual organ, according to the the language used on the bill,’ Zachary Miller of the Arkansas Transgender Equality Coalition, told Salon.

‘Anywhere his chest is in public view — like at a public pool or going to a spa — he could be in violation of the law and be arrested.’

The law could see trans people fined $2,500 and also holds a maximum prison sentence of one year. And that’s only the beginning.

Trans people found guilty four or five times over a 10-year-span would face six years in prison on a Class D felony charge.

Any further charges would result in a 10-year sentence.

Complete article at:  http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/arkansas-criminalize-trans-people-indecent-exposure-law/

A Threat To Bathroom Rights Is A Threat To All Transgender Rights

From Elle UK:  http://www.elleuk.com/life-and-culture/elle-voices/articles/a34381/a-threat-to-bathroom-rights-is-a-threat-to-all-transgender-rights/

ELLE’s transgender columnist breaks down the psychological consequences of being denied these sorts of basic rights

By
Mar 2, 2017

When I was at school, I hated the male changing rooms. That heady mix of pre-adolescence, testosterone, body odour and Lynx deodorant made me convulse and want to hide in the corner between parka jackets. It was, as you might expect, the place where most of the bullying occurred. I was often taunted and teased, and I saw many other femme boys subjected to the same insults.

Transgender children leave school earlier than any other group, and a recent survey has shown that 25 per cent have attempted suicide, and a further 25 per cent have considered it.

And being forced to inhabit the cruel, unmediated environment that male changing rooms can be, is in no small part to blame.

If you don’t know it already, Trump is coming for transgender students’ rights, by reversing a decree that would allow them to use the bathroom according to the gender they identify with.

There has been uproar, of course, about this and there has been the predictably extreme transphobia from people who would strike us from the face of the earth, but there has also been a loud contingent of people who are asking, ‘but are bathrooms really a big deal?’

And here is what I have to say to that…

I’m deeply concerned for the future of LGBTQIA youth in America.

President Trump’s decision to revoke transgender children’s bathroom rights will have ripple effects which threaten every measure to protect transgender students.

Originally put into place by Obama, the guidelines called ‘Title IX’ allowed students to use the toilet which represented and corresponded with the gender they identified with, rather than their biological sex.

Trump’s plans are to revoke Title IX, in favour of making trans students use the bathroom according to the genitalia they were born with.

In other words, if like me you identified as a transgender woman, under Trumps plans you’d be expected to use the gent’s bathroom as opposed to the ladies’.

If that privilege was taken away from me, I’d be really anxious and concerned for my safety. If I was forced by law to stand at a urinal and urinate it would be really damaging for my mental health.

Continue reading at:  http://www.elleuk.com/life-and-culture/elle-voices/articles/a34381/a-threat-to-bathroom-rights-is-a-threat-to-all-transgender-rights/

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Robert Reich: The Resistance Report 3/24/2017

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African-American Gun club: Trump was the cherry on top

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Straus condemns “bathroom bill,” talks local control

From The Texas Tribune:  https://www.texastribune.org/2017/03/24/straus-fiercely-condemns-bathroom-bill-talks-local-control/

House Speaker Joe Straus said the controversial bathroom bill felt “manufactured and unnecessary.”

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus on Friday gave perhaps his harshest condemnation yet of the controversial “bathroom bill” championed by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

Straus said the bill, which has drawn the ire of Texas businesses and been criticized as discriminatory against transgender people, felt “manufactured and unnecessary.”

“If we’ve gotten to the point in our civilization, in our society, that our politicians have to pass bills about bathroom stuff … I mean, we’ve gotten really out of control,” he said.

“For it to get this much attention in a legislative session is astounding to me,” he added.

The proposal would regulate bathroom use in public schools and government buildings on the basis of “biological sex,” prohibiting most transgender people from using bathrooms that align with their gender identity. The legislation would also nix local anti-discrimination laws meant to allow transgender residents to use public bathrooms that match their gender identity.

“I oppose it,” Straus said. “… I don’t feel a great deal of fervor to promote that bill in the House.”

In a wide-ranging interview with Jim Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project and a Texas Tribune pollster, Straus downplayed tensions between the House and the Senate and distanced himself from recent comments made by Gov. Greg Abbott about city and county policies.

Asked about Abbott’s Tuesday remark that he wants the Legislature to pass a “broad-based law” that pre-empts local regulations, Straus said he didn’t know “exactly” what the governor had said but that Straus preferred a “step-by-step” approach to issues of local control.

“I don’t think a blanket policy on exerting power from Austin over locals is a particularly attractive idea, and I don’t think it’ll happen,” Straus said.

Continue reading at:  https://www.texastribune.org/2017/03/24/straus-fiercely-condemns-bathroom-bill-talks-local-control/

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There’s An Insidious New Plot To Make Trans Kids’ Lives Hell

I suggest this special petal flower Snowflake suck it up.

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/transgender-bathrooms-joel-doe-pennsylvania_us_58d26e3fe4b0f838c62e0f52?afr1kctk3z1gaatt9

A student in Pennsylvania is suing his school for treating a trans student like a human.

By Noah Michelson
03/22/2017

On Tuesday, a teenage boy in Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit against his school district in federal court because he doesn’t want to share a locker room with a transgender student.

The teen, known in the lawsuit as “Joel Doe,” claims that using the same locker room as a trans student has caused him “embarrassment and humiliation.” He is asking for damages and he wants the school district to rescind its current policy that allows trans students to use the restroom or locker room that corresponds with their authentic gender identity.

According to HuffPost’s Kim Bellware, Doe believes “unconsented exposure to persons of the opposite sex in various states of undress creates a sexually harassing, hostile environment,” which violates his rights under the federal Title IX law that prohibits sex discrimination.

In other words, the cis student believes he is being discriminated against.

I know. This is some next level “Twilight Zone” grade shit going on right here. But it’s not just twisted, it’s also diabolically brilliant.

Doe and his legal team are asserting that “people who oppose the equal participation of transgender people in society are the ones being victimized,” Harper Jean Tobin, director of policy for the National Center for Transgender Equality, told Bellware.

Essentially, this means that instead of claiming that trans people are (only?) a physical danger to cisgender (non-trans) people ― an argument proven baseless ― the lawsuit is positing sexual harassment and mental anguish as a possible side effect a cis student might experience upon seeing trans students being treated like human beings.

So now it’s not (just?) being raped or attacked in bathrooms that cis people are afraid of. Now it’s not (just?) the wives and daughters we’re trying to protect. Now we must look out for men and boys who are so terrified by the idea of maybe getting a glimpse of body parts that might not match their own that they can’t even function.

It’s a cunning move. Doe is taking the same tactics that trans people have used to argue and win equal rights and access to public facilities and turning them on their head for his own bigoted purposes.

The difference is that, when trans people are prevented from using public restrooms and locker rooms because of their identity, it’s due to discrimination based on their gender identity. Doe, on the other hand, is not being barred from any situation or location. Instead, he simply wants his discomfort with transgender people to be privileged over the discrimination that keeps trans people out of locker rooms and rest rooms in the first place.

Part of me isn’t convinced that Doe is a real boy with real concerns. I don’t doubt that he actually exists somewhere, but knowing that his case was filled by Alliance Defending Freedom ― an organization has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center ― makes me question who is really driving this crazy train and what the ultimate goal of this lawsuit really is.

So here’s what I think: If Doe can’t give this teen in his class the same respect he’d give any other person — and who I would bet both of my testicles just wants to get in and out of that locker room as quickly than Doe does ― Doe shouldn’t get to use the locker room. It’s time we start singling out those who want to make trouble and misery for others and forcing them to live their lives differently as a result instead of the other way around. If you don’t want to play nicely (a.k.a treat everyone equally no matter what they look like or how they identify), then you shouldn’t be allowed to play. See ya. Bye.

Complete article at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/transgender-bathrooms-joel-doe-pennsylvania_us_58d26e3fe4b0f838c62e0f52?afr1kctk3z1gaatt9

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Nazi-Allied Group Claims Top Trump Aide Sebastian Gorka As Sworn Member

From The Forward:  http://forward.com/news/national/366181/exclusive-nazi-allied-group-claims-top-trump-aide-sebastian-gorka-as-sworn/

Lili Bayer and Larry Cohler-Esses
March 16, 2017

Sebastian Gorka, President Trump’s top counter-terrorism adviser, is a formal member of a Hungarian far-right group that is listed by the U.S. State Department as having been “under the direction of the Nazi Government of Germany” during World War II, leaders of the organization have told the Forward.

The elite order, known as the Vitézi Rend, was established as a loyalist group by Admiral Miklos Horthy, who ruled Hungary as a staunch nationalist from 1920 to October 1944. A self-confessed anti-Semite, Horthy imposed restrictive Jewish laws prior to World War II and collaborated with Hitler during the conflict. His cooperation with the Nazi regime included the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Jews into Nazi hands.

Gorka’s membership in the organization — if these Vitézi Rend leaders are correct, and if Gorka did not disclose this when he entered the United States as an immigrant — could have implications for his immigration status. The State Department’s Foreign Affairs Manual specifies that members of the Vitézi Rend “are presumed to be inadmissible” to the country under the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Gorka — who Vitézi Rend leaders say took a lifelong oath of loyalty to their group — did not respond to multiple emails sent to his work and personal accounts, asking whether he is a member of the Vitézi Rend and, if so, whether he disclosed this on his immigration application and on his application to be naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 2012. The White House also did not respond to a request for comment.

But Bruce Einhorn, a retired immigration judge who now teaches nationality law at Pepperdine University, said of this, “His silence speaks volumes.”

The group to which Gorka reportedly belongs is a reconstitution of the original group on the State Department list, which was banned in Hungary until the fall of Communism in 1989. There are now two organizations in Hungary that claim to be the heirs of the original Vitézi Rend, with Gorka, according to fellow members, belonging to the so-called “Historical Vitézi Rend.” Though it is not known to engage in violence, the Historical Vitézi Rend upholds all the nationalist and oftentimes racial principles of the original group as established by Horthy.

Einhorn said these nuances did not relieve Gorka of the obligation, if he’s a member, to disclose his affiliation when applying for his visa or his citizenship.

“This is a group that advocates racialist nativism,” said Einhorn. If Gorka did not disclose his affiliation with it, he said, this would constitute “failure to disclose a material fact,” which could undermine the validity of both his immigration status and claim to citizenship.

Continue reading at: http://forward.com/news/national/366181/exclusive-nazi-allied-group-claims-top-trump-aide-sebastian-gorka-as-sworn/

See also: Salon: Trump adviser Sebastian Gorka swore a lifetime loyalty oath to a Hungarian pro-Nazi group: Report

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AP Exclusive: Price tag of North Carolina’s LGBT law: $3.76B

Republi-Nazis don’t give a shit about the citizens, or tax payers.  All they give a damned about is pushing their hateful agenda.

From The News and Observer:  http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article140966868.html

By Emery P. Dalesio and Jonathan Drew
March 27, 2017

Despite Republican assurances that North Carolina’s “bathroom bill” isn’t hurting the economy, the law limiting LGBT protections will cost the state more than $3.76 billion in lost business over a dozen years, according to an Associated Press analysis.

Over the past year, North Carolina has suffered financial hits ranging from scuttled plans for a PayPal facility that would have added an estimated $2.66 billion to the state’s economy to a canceled Ringo Starr concert that deprived a town’s amphitheater of about $33,000 in revenue. The blows have landed in the state’s biggest cities as well as towns surrounding its flagship university, and from the mountains to the coast.

North Carolina could lose hundreds of millions more because the NCAA is avoiding the state, usually a favored host. The group is set to announce sites for various championships through 2022, and North Carolina won’t be among them as long as the law is on the books. The NAACP also has initiated a national economic boycott.

The AP analysis (http://apne.ws/2n9GSjE ) — compiled through interviews and public records requests — represents the largest reckoning yet of how much the law, passed one year ago, could cost the state. The law excludes gender identity and sexual orientation from statewide antidiscrimination protections, and requires transgender people to use restrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates in many public buildings.

Still, AP’s tally ( http://bit.ly/2o9Dzdd ) is likely an underestimation of the law’s true costs. The count includes only data obtained from businesses and state or local officials regarding projects that canceled or relocated because of HB2. A business project was counted only if AP determined through public records or interviews that HB2 was why it pulled out.

Some projects that left, such as a Lionsgate television production that backed out of plans in Charlotte, weren’t included because of a lack of data on their economic impact.

The AP also tallied the losses of dozens of conventions, sporting events and concerts through figures from local officials. The AP didn’t attempt to quantify anecdotal reports that lacked hard numbers, or to forecast the loss of future conventions.

Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan — who leads the largest company based in North Carolina — said he’s spoken privately to business leaders who went elsewhere with projects or events because of the controversy, and he fears more decisions like that are being made quietly.

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Mayim Bialik: “Girl” vs. “Woman”: Why Language Matters

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Liberals are finally listening to Thomas Frank about what’s wrong with the Democratic Party

From The Chicago Reader:  http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/listen-liberal-thomas-frank-democratic-party-critique-trump-obama/Content?oid=25948366

The author of Listen Liberal looks prescient in the wake of Donald Trump’s victory.

By
March 22, 2017

Perhaps Thomas Frank should have added an exclamation mark to the title of his latest book. As it was, Listen Liberal: Or, Whatever Happened to the Party of the People? largely fell on deaf ears when it was initially released in April 2016. Echoing arguments frequently made by Bernie Sanders during the primary campaign against Hillary Clinton, Frank’s pointed polemic attacked the Clintons, Rahm Emanuel, and the mainstream Democratic Party for abandoning America’s working people in favor of Wall Street and the professional classes. But the mainstream media and political commentators mostly shunned the book until after Election Day—when it suddenly looked prescient. On November 9, it was listed in the New York Times article “Six Books to Help Understand Trump’s Win.”

The liberals, in other words, are listening now—even if it’s too late to avoid the horrors of a Trump presidency. Back on the road promoting the paperback edition, Frank will appear for a reading at the Seminary Co-op Bookstore in Hyde Park on March 27. But despite the recent attention his analysis is getting, the onetime Chicagoan and cofounder of the Baffler isn’t necessarily more hopeful about the Democratic Party than he was a year ago.

When we spoke last year, there was a media silence around your book. How much has that changed?

The book has sold well, lots of people have read it, I get a lot of e-mails, and people talk about it all the time. But the national American media is still not interested, by and large. It’s weird because in other countries I’m on TV and radio all the time. I just came back from Australia and Scandinavia, and both places were very interested in it. The same is true in Canada and in the UK.

How do you explain the greater interest abroad?

They’re very worried about Trump overseas. In Australia they’re worried he might get them into a war. The other thing is that a lot of these countries think they’re going to have their own Trump one of these days. If you look at what’s happening to these left parties in Europe—they’re getting slaughtered. It’s happening all over the place.

What do you think blinded the Democrats and liberals to your critique?

That’s a good question. The Democrats had all these postmortems and “What went wrong?” inquiries, but they refuse to admit they did anything wrong. For a long time, these people denied that the working class was walking away from the Democratic Party. Now they see it’s plain and then switch to a new line of thinking: “Well, there’s nothing we can do to win those people back, because the only possible appeal is to become a more racist party, and we’re not interested in that.”

So they’re determined not to adopt left populism, which is what the Democratic Party used to do. The problem is that for the Clinton wing of the party, it’s essential to their identity that they turn their backs on that kind of politics. That’s who they are. They can’t go back now.

It also seems like a lot of Democrats have used the Russian hacking scandal and the alleged Putin-Trump ties to paper over flaws with their own party. It was like, “Putin hacked the election so why should we change?”

Yes, they’ve made plenty of excuses. And as far as excuses go, it’s pretty lame. The Comey intervention had a much bigger impact. And you know what had a bigger impact still, which they never talk about? The big increase in Obamacare premiums a few weeks before the election. I couldn’t believe that Barack Obama didn’t move heaven and earth to keep it from happening. Secondly, the [Trans-Pacific Partnership]. What the hell was Obama thinking pushing it right up until the end while poor Hillary was out there trying to distance herself from it? When you talk about blunders, those were worse than Russia—if it was Russia—stealing John Podesta’s e-mail.

Continue reading at:  http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/listen-liberal-thomas-frank-democratic-party-critique-trump-obama/Content?oid=25948366

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If We Don’t Act Now, Fascism Will Be on Our Doorstep, Says Yale Historian

From Bill Moyers:  http://billmoyers.com/story/dont-act-now-fascism-will-doorstep-says-yale-historian/

Timothy Snyder warns: History gives us a bunch of cases where democratic republics became authoritarian regimes.

By Steven Rosenfeld
March 15, 2017

How close is President Donald Trump to following the path blazed by last century’s tyrants? Could American democracy be replaced with totalitarian rule? There’s enough resemblance that Yale historian Timothy Snyder, who studies fascist and communist regime change and totalitarian rule, has written a book warning about the threat and offering lessons for resistance and survival. The author of On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century talked to AlterNet’s Steven Rosenfeld.

Steven Rosenfeld: Three weeks ago, you said that the country has perhaps a year “to defend American democracy.” You said what happens in the next few weeks is crucial. Are you more concerned than ever that our political culture and institutions are evolving toward fascism, resembling key aspects of the early 20th-century European regimes you’ve studied?

Timothy Snyder: Let me answer you in three parts. The first thing is that the 20 lessons that I wrote, I wrote on Nov. 15. The book, On Tyranny, was done by Christmas. Which means if people read it now, and people are reading it, and it’s describing the world they are in, that means I’ve successfully made predictions based on history. We’re going to talk about what is going to come, but I want to point out that timeline — it was basically completely blind. But the book does describe what is going on now.

The year figure is there because we have to recognize that things move fast. Nazi Germany took about a year. Hungary took about two and a half years. Poland got rid of the top-level judiciary within a year. It’s a rough historical guess, but the point is because there is an outside limit, you therefore have to act now. You have to get started early. It’s just very practical advice. It’s the meta-advice of the past: That things slip out of reach for you, psychologically very quickly and then legally almost as quickly. It’s hard for people to act when they feel other people won’t act. It’s hard for people to act when they feel like they have to break the law to do so. So it is important to get out in front before people face those psychological and legal barriers.

Am I more worried now? I realize that was your question. No, I’m exactly as worried as I was before, in November. I think that the people who inhabit the White House inhabit a different ideological world in which they would like for the United States not to be the constitutional system that it now is. I was concerned about that in November. I’m concerned about it now. Nothing that has happened since has changed the way I see things.

SR: Let’s talk about how this evolution takes place. You’ve written about how “post-truth is pre-fascism.” You talk about leaders ignoring facts, law and history. How far along this progression are we? I’m wondering where you might see things going next.

TS: That’s tough because what history does is give you a whole bunch of cases where democratic republics become authoritarian regimes; sometimes fascist regimes, sometimes communist regimes. It doesn’t give you one storyline: A, B, C, D. It gives you a bunch of clusters of A, and a bunch of clusters of C. But factuality is really important and more important than people realize, because it’s the substructure of regime change.

We think about democracy, and that’s the word that Americans love to use, democracy, and that’s how we characterize our system. But if democracy just means going to vote, it’s pretty meaningless. Russia has democracy in that sense. Most authoritarian regimes have democracy in that sense. Nazi Germany had democracy in that sense, even after the system had fundamentally changed.

Democracy only has substance if there’s the rule of law. That is, if people believe that the votes are going to be counted and they are counted. If they believe that there’s a judiciary out there that will make sense of things if there’s some challenge. If there isn’t rule of law, people will be afraid to vote the way they want to vote. They’ll vote for their own safety as opposed to their convictions. So the thing we call democracy depends on the rule of law. And the things we call the rule of law depends upon trust. Law functions 99 percent of the time automatically. It functions because we think it’s out there. And that, in turn, depends on the sense of truth. So there’s a mechanism here. You can get right to heart of the matter if you can convince people that there is no truth. Which is why the stuff that we characterize as post-modern and might dismiss is actually really, really essential.

The second thing about “post-truth is pre-fascism” is I’m trying to get people’s attention, because that is actually how fascism works. Fascism says, disregard the evidence of your senses, disregard observation, embolden deeds that can’t be proven, don’t have faith in God but have faith in leaders, take part in collective myth of an organic national unity and so forth. Fascism was precisely about setting the whole Enlightenment aside and then selling what sort of myths emerged. Now those [national] myths are pretty unpredictable, and contingent on different nations and different leaders and so on, but to just set facts aside is actually the fastest catalyst. So that part concerns me a lot.

Continue reading at:  http://billmoyers.com/story/dont-act-now-fascism-will-doorstep-says-yale-historian/

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Trump is greenlighting the harassment of transgender kids

From Think Progress:  https://thinkprogress.org/trump-greenlights-harassment-transgender-kids-7a2a1dd979ce

“I think it’s entirely his fault. Every single bit of it.”

Emma Margolin
Mar 27, 2017

In the weeks since President Donald Trump’s administration revoked federal guidance aimed at protecting transgender students, school has been a nightmare for 17-year-old Lyle Howard.

“Ever since Trump rescinded the guidance, I’ve been harassed and bullied and yelled at in the halls,” said Howard, a sophomore at Ozark High School in southwest Missouri. “I have been declared not a person. I am an ‘it.’”

Howard, a transgender boy, says he had been using the boys’ bathroom at his public high school since the beginning of the school year without any problems. But that changed last month, when the Trump administration reversed Obama-era guidelines affirming transgender students’ right to use the bathroom in line with their gender identities. One day later, Howard says, he was chased into a bathroom stall by another boy, who banged on the door and yelled in the halls that there was a woman in the wrong bathroom. As he sees it, the timing of the incident was no coincidence.

“It’s definitely had a huge impact,” Howard said of the federal government’s reversal on transgender protections.

Trump’s decision to pull federal support for transgender students has already begun to significantly affect the lives of thousands of kids. Though the rescission itself did not change existing law, it did create a climate where schools could potentially feel safe rolling back trans-inclusive policies or ignoring cases of harassment. Many LGBTQ advocates, parents and students now say they’re concerned the administration’s action will embolden bullies and opponents of nondiscrimination protections, while exacerbating the already disproportionate rate of anxiety and depression among transgender youth.

Legally, the administration’s move also had a major impact. The Supreme Court was set to hear arguments this week in a case brought by 17-year-old Gavin Grimm, a transgender boy suing his Virginia school district for the right to use the bathroom matching his gender identity. By the end of the school year, that case could have settled once and for all the question of whether barring transgender students from the bathroom of their choice amounts to unlawful sex discrimination under Title IX, a statute prohibiting such discrimination in federally funded education programs and activities. But after the Trump administration rescinded the guidance on transgender protections, the justices decided early this month to return the case to a lower court for reconsideration, delaying much-needed clarity on the issue.

Continue reading at:  https://thinkprogress.org/trump-greenlights-harassment-transgender-kids-7a2a1dd979ce

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9 Deaths Are Linked to Rare Cancer From Breast Implants

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/21/health/breast-implants-cancer-deaths.html

A rare cancer first linked to breast implants in 2011 has now been associated with nine deaths, the Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday.

As of Feb. 1, the agency had received a total of 359 reports of the cancer associated with the implants. The deaths were not caused by breast cancer, the agency said, but by a rare malignancy in the immune system, anaplastic large-cell lymphoma. In cases linked to implants, this rare form of cancer grows in the breast, usually in the capsule of scar tissue that forms around an implant. It is usually treatable and not often fatal.

The problem is more likely to occur with textured implants, which have a pebbly surface, than with smooth implants, the agency said. Of the 359 reported cases, 231 included information about the implant surface: 203 were textured, and 28 smooth.

The contents of the implants appeared much less important: Of 312 cases where the contents were known, 186 were filled with silicone gel, and 126 with saline.

Cases generally come to light when symptoms develop, like lumps, pain, fluid buildup and swelling.

The agency said it was impossible to say how many cases exist, because of limited reporting of problems and a lack of worldwide sales data on implants.

About 290,000 women in the United States had implants for breast enlargement in 2016, and 109,000 received them for reconstruction after breast cancer, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

In many cases when the lymphoma occurs, just removing the implant and the tissue around it eliminates the disease. But some women may need chemotherapy and radiation.

Why there is a difference in risk related to the surfaces is not known, but the body’s reaction to textured implants is different from its reaction to smooth ones, according to Dr. Alex K. Wong, a plastic surgeon and researcher at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine. Tissue grows into microscopic grooves in the textured implants.

“When we take these out, you can hear a peeling sound,” Dr. Wong said. “Whereas with a smooth implant, it’s like Jell-O. You can spin it around. It moves really easily.”

Continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/21/health/breast-implants-cancer-deaths.html