Why I Might Not Tell You I’m Transsexual | Transgender Living

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Pro-Trump rioters got away with beating anti-fascists in Berkeley — and likely won’t stop there

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2017/04/18/pro-trump-rioters-got-away-with-beating-anti-fascists-in-berkeley-and-they-likely-wont-stop-there/

The Berkeley street violence was a great marketing event for alt-right types eager to attack anti-Trump protesters

Tuesday, Apr 18, 2017

Most of the demonstrations held on April 15, which was set aside by progressives for marches to demand that Donald Trump reveal his tax returns, were peaceful. The notable exception was the city of Berkeley, California — often described as the most liberal community in the nation — where things rapidly descended into a street fight between radical right-wingers and more left-leaning counterprotesters.

A group of hard-right extremists came to Berkeley to hold a rally in support of Trump. While they are, of course, claiming that they only resorted to violence in self-defense, it’s clear from the social-media organizing done ahead of time that their intention was to start a riot.

David Neiwert of the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote in a blog post:

On social media, the organizers and supporters called it “the Next Battle of Berkeley,” a chance to gain revenge for an earlier event on the University of California campus that they believed had infringed on conservatives’ free speech rights: In February, a scheduled appearance by alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos was shut down by rock-throwing “antifascist” protesters.

One Twitter user also documented the way that alt-right folks were instructing one another in how to smuggle weapons past the police.

hey wanted a fight and a fight they got. Eleven people were injured, and six were hospitalized. One white supremacist identified as Nathan Damigo was filmed sucker punching a young woman.

It’s tempting to write off this event as something unique to the Berkeley area. The area has a robust “antifa” presence, which is the name given to a small group of youthful anarchist-leftist sorts who tend to reject nonviolent approaches in favor of aggressive confrontation. The white nationalists and fascists knew full well that going to Berkeley meant they would be met with an aggressive response. If they had tried the same stunt in, say, New York, it probably wouldn’t have devolved into a violent melee like it did in Berkeley.

But while this particular situation might not have happened anywhere else, now that it has, there’s good reason to worry that the violence could spread. By staging this street fight in Berkeley, the alt-right sent a message to its sympathizers across the country, encouraging them to start organizing brownshirt efforts of their very own.

For one thing, while there were 21 arrests at this particular street fight, most of the right-wing fighters — including, apparently, Damigo — walked away scot-free and full of pride about this supposed victory, as Mother Jones reporter Shane Bauer recorded on Twitter.

Complete article at:  http://www.salon.com/2017/04/18/pro-trump-rioters-got-away-with-beating-anti-fascists-in-berkeley-and-they-likely-wont-stop-there/

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Texas to consider anti-LGBT legislation based on HB2 deal

From Washington Blade:  http://www.washingtonblade.com/2017/04/14/texas-consider-anti-lgbt-legislation-based-hb2-deal/

by Chris Johnson
April 14, 2017

In a sign the new law in North Carolina that replaced House Bill 2 may be exported to other states, the Texas legislature is set on Wednesday to consider anti-LGBT legislation that bears a striking resemblance to the North Carolina deal.

The bill, House Bill 2899, was introduced Friday by Rep. Ron Simmons (R-Carrollton) as a compromise proposal for lawmakers seeking to enact anti-LGBT legislation in Texas as the biennial legislative session in Texas winds down. The legislation is set for a hearing Wednesday in the House State Affairs Committee.

The measure would prohibit municipalities from enacting ordinances that would “protect a class of persons from discrimination” or reduce or expand the classes of persons protected from discrimination under state law. In effect, the proposal would bar cities from enacting ordinances barring anti-LGBT discrimination because Texas state law affords no protection based on sexual orientation or transgender status.

The proposal has explicit language stating city ordinances would become null and void if they enacted prior to the passage of the law. That would eliminate non-discrimination ordinances already in place in Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Piano and San Antonio, according to the Human Rights Campaign’s 2016 Municipal Index.

HB 2899 would take effect immediately if it receives a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house as provided under the Texas Constitution. But if the legislature approves it by a simple majority, it would take effect on Sept. 1, 2017.

The law is proposed as alternative to anti-LGBT legislation already approved in the Senate, Senate Bill 6, which seems to have stalled out after House Speaker Joe Strauss said he opposed the bill and had no intention of bringing it up. That proposal would bar cities from enacting measures to bar discrimination against transgender people in restrooms and prohibit transgender people from using the restroom consistent with their gender identity in public spaces, such as schools and government buildings.

Continue reading at:  http://www.washingtonblade.com/2017/04/14/texas-consider-anti-lgbt-legislation-based-hb2-deal/

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DOJ withdraws lawsuit against N.C. anti-trans bathroom law

From The Washington Blade:  http://www.washingtonblade.com/2017/04/14/breaking-doj-withdraws-lawsuit-n-c-anti-trans-bathroom-law/

Chris Johnson
April 14, 2017

Although North Carolina replaced anti-LGBT House Bill 2 with a law that critics say still enables anti-LGBT discrimination, the U.S. Justice Department has withdrawn the lawsuit against the state filed last year under Obama administration.

In a five-page notice, the Justice Department under U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced it has voluntarily withdrawn the lawsuit filed last year by former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

“In light of the passage of North Carolina Session Law 2017-4, House Bill 142, and pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 41, the Parties in the above-captioned action hereby stipulate that all claims or causes of action against Defendants and all counterclaims against Plaintiff which were the subject matter of this lawsuit are hereby dismissed with prejudice,” the notice says.

After North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed into law the replacement measure for HB2, whether the Justice Department would continue the lawsuit it filed against the state over the initial law was in question. As of last month, a Justice Department said the U.S. government “reviewing its litigation posture” in the aftermath of the HB2 replacement.

Lynch’s lawsuit alleged HB2, which barred cities from enacting pro-LGBT ordinances and transgender people from using the restroom consistent with their gender identity, contravenes federal law. The Justice Department alleged the law violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013.

The deal Cooper signed, House Bill 142, replaces HB2 with a measure that LGBT advocates say is a bait-and-switch attempt giving the appearance of repeal while doubling-down on discrimination.

HB 142 prohibits state agencies, municipalities and the University of North Carolina from the “regulation of access” to bathrooms, locker rooms and showers unless they have the legislature’s permission. It also bans municipalities until 2020 from enacting LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination measures that would apply to private businesses or public accommodations.

Ford Porter, a Cooper spokesperson, said in response to DOJ’s withdrawal of the lawsuit against the North Carolina law the governor still supports statewide non-discrimination protections for LGBT people.

“The compromise to repeal HB2 took an important step in the right direction,” Porter said. “Gov. Cooper will continue to work to repair our state’s reputation and add statewide protections for LGBT North Carolinians.”

The withdraw of DOJ’s lawsuit in the aftermath of the switch is consistent with Sessions’ actions against transgender rights since his confirmation as U.S. attorney general. In fact, the Justice Department last month nixed its request for a preliminary injunction against HB2 in favor of an existing injunction against the law that was significantly more limited and applied only to plaintiffs in a separate lawsuit.

Jon W. Davidson, legal director for Lambda Legal, said in a statement the Justice Department is using the North Carolina’s new law as excuse to withdraw lawsuit even though the new statute still enables discrimination.

Continue reading at:  http://www.washingtonblade.com/2017/04/14/breaking-doj-withdraws-lawsuit-n-c-anti-trans-bathroom-law/

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Texas bathroom bill targeting trans people would also strip rights for veterans, elderly and pregnant women

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/2017/04/texas-bathroom-bill-targeting-trans-people-would-also-strip-rights-for-veterans-elderly-and-pregnant-women/

17 Apr 2017

A bill sponsored by Texas state House Republicans aims to nullify anti-discriminations protections for transgender people who use public bathrooms, but the bill would also have the unintended consequence of endangering the bathroom rights of the elderly, disabled veterans and pregnant women.

According to The Dallas Morning News, the House Republican bill bans cities from protecting the rights of any group that is not already a protected class under state or federal law.

“It’s a one-sided proposition in that it forbids a city from protecting someone from discrimination but it doesn’t forbid a city from discriminating against a person,” Southern Methodist University constitutional professor Dale Carpenter told the paper. “It is very rare, if not unprecedented, to see actual language in a statute prohibiting classes of persons from being protected from discrimination.”

If the House bill becomes law, cities would no longer be able to extend protections beyond the federal minimums, which include race, religion and national origin.

Austin has added “age” as a protected class for older people who need special accommodations. And San Antonio passed resolutions to protect the bathroom rights of veterans and LGBT people.

But cities like Austin and San Antonio would no longer be able to protect the rights of the elderly, veterans, pregnant women and LGBT people if Republicans have their way.

Read the entire report from The Dallas Morning News.

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A Transgender Learning Gap in the Emergency Room

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/13/well/live/a-transgender-learning-gap-in-the-emergency-room.html

As an emergency physician, I’m always engaging in a fast-tempo, often awkward, all too stressful dance with strangers. Lately, though, I’ve noticed a particular gap in my own medical education and training, as well as in that of my colleagues, that’s further tripping up our steps: how to provide optimal health care for transgender patients.

The gap is amplified in the emergency room, where even under the best of circumstances the interaction we have with patients is typically rushed and never entirely comfortable — and where I’m usually meeting a patient for the first time and don’t have the patient’s medical history at my fingertips. Because transgender people are less likely to have health insurance and are four times more likely to live in poverty compared to the general population, the emergency room serves as a particularly important safety net for these patients.

Sometimes the patient is registered as the wrong gender immediately from triage, resulting in a strained communication from the get-go. Other times, a staff member lets out a surprised gasp as a patient undresses for a physical exam. Then there are the moments when providers call a patient a “he/she” or “they” on rounds. Private rooms are also hard to come by in busy, overcrowded emergency rooms, and patients may be inappropriately clustered by gender.

None of this, for the most part, is out of malice. Instead it’s because of our own ignorance — and stems from our lack of education and training on providing sensitive and evidence-based care for transgender patients.

Currently, American medical schools’ curriculums are not sufficiently addressing the health needs and concerns of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. A comprehensive survey of schools in the United States and Canada revealed that less than five hours in medical schools are devoted to L.G.B.T. health over all; some medical schools reported zero hours of training. While I did learn about providing health care for lesbian, gay and bisexual patients when I went to medical school over a decade ago, I didn’t receive any special education on the particular health needs and concerns of the estimated 1.4 million adults living in the United States who identify as transgender.

In one study, half of these patients had to teach their doctors about transgender health issues at some point. A Twitter hashtag #transhealthfail started trending in August of 2015, when transgender patients shared stories about their negative experiences with the health care system. Patients continue to use the hashtag today.

These holes in medical education and training can cost lives. Over 70 percent of transgender people nationwide say they have experienced serious discrimination in a health care setting. A third of transgender people postpone — or completely avoid — seeking health care because of the fear of discrimination. One in five have yet to disclose their transgender status to any medical provider.

Continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/13/well/live/a-transgender-learning-gap-in-the-emergency-room.html

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The Tribal Case for Israel

From The Forward:  http://forward.com/scribe/368369/the-tribal-case-for-israel/

By Micha Danzig & Yirmiyahu Danzig
April 6, 2017

Supporting Israel means supporting indigenous rights. Despite the obviousness and the power of this statement, much of the rhetoric used by the pro-Israel community revolve around Israel’s technological innovation, treatment of women and the LGBTQIA+ community, democratic character, and morality.

While accurate, this paradigm is irrelevant to the average college student that supports BDS (the anti-Israel boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement) or is inclined to support BDS. For the average college student who supports BDS (or is inclined to), the view of Israel as a “Western” outpost in the Arab Middle East trumps all other considerations. Right or wrong, on today’s college campuses and in the places where the BDS argument has the most traction, people care far more about indigenous rights and justice for the indigenous than they do about almost anything else.

When Zionists declared independence and the return of Jewish sovereignty in the land of Israel, the founding fathers understood that they were making a proclamation of the justice of the Jewish people’s return to sovereignty in their indigenous homeland. That is why Israel’s Declaration of Establishment proclaims:

“Eretz-Israel was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here, their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books. After being forcibly exiled from their land, the people kept faith with it throughout their Dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom.”

This is the original language of Zionism. This is about the Jewish people’s indigenous rights in the land of Israel. This is also about justice; the justice of Zionism. Thus, every chance we get, we need to remind people that Zionism is the first successful indigenous movement of a dispossessed and colonized people regaining sovereignty in their indigenous homeland.

The facts are on our side. Even though it is an oft-repeated mantra of anti-Israel activists that Israel is a “colonial outpost” or a “colonial settler state,” there is indisputable evidence that the Jewish people are indigenous to the Land of Israel. Arabs, in contrast, originated in the Hejaz region of the Arabian Peninsula before they colonized much of the Middle East and Africa at the expense of many different indigenous populations (such as Copts, Yazidis, Assyrians, Amazighs and Jews).

Under the common-sense definition of Indigenous set forth in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the only living people who are uniquely indigenous to the land of Israel are Jews.

The evidence of Jewish indigeneity in the land of Israel is as obvious as the presence of ancient mikvot (ritual baths) and ancient Jewish coins that have been discovered all over Israel, and the Arch of Titus in Rome, which depicts the siege of Jewish Jerusalem.

Continue reading at: http://forward.com/scribe/368369/the-tribal-case-for-israel/

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Easter Message from Sean Spicer

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North Carolina Files Bill to Make Gay Marriage Illegal Again

From Out: http://www.out.com/news-opinion/2017/4/11/breaking-north-carolina-files-bill-make-gay-marriage-illegal-again

House Bill 780 claims the U.S. Supreme Court overstepped “constitutional bounds.”

By Justin Moran
April 11, 2017

Three Republican lawmakers filed today a new bill, which seeks to ban gay marriage in North Carolina, CBS reports. The “Uphold Historical Marriage Act” aims to invalidate the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling on same-sex marriage, claiming they violated “constitutional bounds” when the Court dismantled Amendment One.

More than 60 percent of those who cast a ballot in May 2012 voted in favor of Amendment One, which prohibited North Carolina from performing or recognizing same-sex marriages or civil unions.

Larry Pittman, Michael Speciale and Carl Ford are the core sponsors of House Bill 780, which quotes the Christian Bible and states the Supreme Court overstepped “the decree of Almighty God that ‘a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become 22 one flesh. (Genesis 2:24, ESV)'” HB780 also argues the Supreme Court “abrogates the clear meaning and understanding of marriage in all societies throughout prior history.”

If approved, the bill would make the Supreme Court’s federal decision on gay marriage void in North Carolina. Same-sex marriages would become invalid, regardless of being conducted within or outside of the state.

See complete article at:  http://www.out.com/news-opinion/2017/4/11/breaking-north-carolina-files-bill-make-gay-marriage-illegal-again

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Joe Biden Calls on Trump Admin to Condemn LGBTQ Crisis in Chechnya

From NBC News:  http://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/joe-biden-calls-trump-admin-condemn-lgbtq-crisis-chechnya-n746696

by Mary Emily O’Hara
Apr 14 2017

Joe Biden is “disgusted and appalled” by reports of authorities in Chechnya torturing and killing men who are believed to be gay or bisexual.

On Friday, the former Vice President responded to growing concerns among international governments and human rights groups who have been pressuring the U.S. to take action and address the Chechen crisis with Russia.

“When faced with such crimes of hate and inhumanity, it is the responsibility of every person of conscience to speak out — to oppose this campaign of violence before it continues further,” Biden said in a statement released Friday afternoon.

The reports of a violent, state-sponsored campaign targeting local LGBTQ men in Chechnya first arose on April 1, when the Russian independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta published a story revealing details of a prison-like facility near the Chechen town of Argun.

Novaya Gazeta spoke with Chechen men who reported being arrested and subsequently tortured with beatings and electric shocks, as well as being forced to supply authorities with the names and phone numbers of other LGBTQ people.

A St. Petersburg advocacy group, Russian LGBT Network, set up an emergency hotline to take calls from Chechnya — and now says it has received about 50 calls from people who were targeted or are trying to escape the region. As many as 100 men were believed to have been arrested for suspected homosexuality. Russian LGBT Network told NBC News it believes around 20 men have been killed by authorities as part of the roundups.

“People are very intimidated and not eager to talk. They are hesitant to even talk to us,” Natalia Poplevskaia, the network’s International Advocacy Officer and Monitoring Program Coordinator, told NBC News on Tuesday. “The people who have been targeted by the campaign need some time to get back to normal life.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/joe-biden-calls-trump-admin-condemn-lgbtq-crisis-chechnya-n746696

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Hannah Is a Girl. Doctors Finally Treat Her Like One.

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/08/opinion/sunday/hannah-is-a-girl-doctors-finally-treat-her-like-one.html

NEW HAVEN — Hannah is a 14-year-old girl, clad in leggings and an oversize T-shirt, with long brown hair that she curls around a finger. She was also born a boy.

The government can’t seem to decide whether it should affirm children like Hannah. President Trump jumped from supporting workplace protections for transgender people to ending supportive policies for transgender students in public schools. The Supreme Court waffled on whether or not these kids can use the bathrooms of their identified genders, sending the question back to the Fourth Circuit. Last month, North Carolina repealed a law that forced transgender people to use the bathroom corresponding with the gender on their birth certificates, while strangely prohibiting schools from adopting policies that would let transgender students use the bathroom of their choice.

Politicians could learn something from the doctors who treat these patients. Over the past few years, it has become clear that if we support these children in their transgender identities instead of trying to change them, they thrive instead of struggling with anxiety and depression.

Hannah is using a puberty-blocking implant and getting ready to embark on the path of developing a female body by starting estrogen. Ten years ago most doctors would have called this malpractice. New data has now made it the protocol for thousands of American children.

Being transgender doesn’t affect Hannah much. She is a straight-A student and auditioning for her school’s production of “Annie.” She’s both embarrassed and excited to talk about the two boys who asked her out this year.

“I turned to him and said, ‘You know I’m transgender, right?’ ” she tells me. “He said that he knows I’m transgender and that he also knows I’m pretty and sweet.”

Taking her red cheeks as a sign to change the subject, we switch back to medicine. I feel around her bicep, where a hard rod just beneath her skin releases a drug that turns off the brain cells that would otherwise kick off puberty. The implant has been in place for two years, preventing the process that would have deepened her voice and given her an Adam’s apple. She has been happy with the blocker, but is ready to move on.

“I’m tired of being the only girl in my grade who looks like a little kid,” she says.

She has a point. A review of recent studies suggests we could start cross-sex hormones as early as 14, so that transgender kids don’t suffer the stigma of starting puberty years after their classmates.

Continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/08/opinion/sunday/hannah-is-a-girl-doctors-finally-treat-her-like-one.html

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Migrants from west Africa being ‘sold in Libyan slave markets’

From The Guardian UK:  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/10/libya-public-slave-auctions-un-migration

UN migration agency says selling of people is rife in African nation that has slid into violent chaos since overthrow of Gaddafi

Monday 10 April 2017

West African migrants are being bought and sold openly in modern-day slave markets in Libya, survivors have told a UN agency helping them return home.

Trafficked people passing through Libya have previously reported violence, extortion and slave labour. But the new testimony from the International Organization for Migration suggests that the trade in human beings has become so normalised that people are being traded in public.

“The latest reports of ‘slave markets’ for migrants can be added to a long list of outrages [in Libya],” said Mohammed Abdiker, IOM’s head of operation and emergencies. “The situation is dire. The more IOM engages inside Libya, the more we learn that it is a vale of tears for all too many migrants.”

The north African nation is a major exit point for refugees from Africa trying to take boats to Europe. But since the overthrow of autocratic leader Muammar Gaddafi, the vast, sparsely populated country has slid into violent chaos and migrants with little cash and usually no papers are particularly vulnerable.

One 34-year-old survivor from Senegal said he was taken to a dusty lot in the south Libyan city of Sabha after crossing the desert from Niger in a bus organised by people smugglers. The group had paid to be taken to the coast, where they planned to risk a boat trip to Europe, but their driver suddenly said middlemen had not passed on his fees and put his passengers up for sale.

“The men on the pick-up were brought to a square, or parking lot, where a kind of slave trade was happening. There were locals – he described them as Arabs – buying sub-Saharan migrants,” said Livia Manante, an IOM officer based in Niger who helps people wanting to return home.

She interviewed the survivor after he escaped from Libya earlier this month and said accounts of slave markets were confirmed by other migrants she spoke to in Niger and some who had been interviewed by colleagues in Europe.

“Several other migrants confirmed his story, independently describing kinds of slave markets as well as kinds of private prisons all over in Libya,” Manente said. “IOM Italy has confirmed that this story is similar to many stories reported by migrants and collected at landing points in southern Italy, including the slave market reports. This gives more evidence that the stories reported are true, as the stories of those who managed to cross-match those who are returning back to their countries.”

Continue reading at:  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/10/libya-public-slave-auctions-un-migration

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Chechens tell of prison beatings and electric shocks in anti-gay purge: ‘They called us animals’

From The Guardian UK:  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/13/they-called-us-animals-chechens-prison-beatings-electric-shocks-anti-gay-purge

Up to several hundred gay men are feared to have been rounded up and some killed in ultra-conservative Russian republic

Thursday 13 April

At least once a day, Adam’s captors attached metal clamps to his fingers and toes. One of the men then cranked a handle on a machine to which the clamps were linked with wires, and sent powerful electric shocks through his body. If he managed not to scream, others would join in, beating him with wooden sticks or metal rods.

As they tortured him, the men shouted verbal abuse at him for being gay, and demanded to know the names of other gay men he knew in Chechnya. “Sometimes they were trying to get information from me; other times they were just amusing themselves,” he said, speaking about the ordeal he underwent just a month ago with some difficulty.

Adam’s testimony, as well as that of another gay Chechen man with whom the Guardian spoke, backs up reports that a shocking anti-gay campaign is under way in the Russian republic of Chechnya, involving over a hundred and possibly several hundred men. Some are believed to have been killed.

Adam was held in an informal detention facility with more than a dozen other gay men, who were all subjected to torture on a daily basis. A similar “mop-up” campaign by governmental security forces took place in towns across the republic.

Igor Kochetkov, a gay rights activist from St Petersburg, has helped organise an emergency contact centre which gay people in Chechnya can reach out to securely to get help with evacuation. He said “dozens” of people had got in touch to ask for help. Many are in hiding from both their families and the authorities.

“We are talking about the mass persecution of gay people, with hundreds of people kidnapped by authorities,” Kochetkov told the Guardian. “This is unprecedented not only in Russia but in recent world history. There is little doubt that we are dealing with crimes against humanity.”

Under the Moscow-backed local leader Ramzan Kadyrov, Chechnya has been rebuilt after two brutal separatist conflicts in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Kadyrov pledges allegiance to Vladimir Putin and a love for Russia, and in return the Kremlin turns a blind eye to human rights abuses. Critics say Kadyrov’s notorious battalions have long operated outside the law.

Journalists at the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, which first reported the story, say they have incontrovertible evidence that at least three gay men have been killed since the operation started, and believe the full death toll could be much higher. Chechen society is extremely conservative and homophobic, and there are fears that some gay men may have been killed by their families after being outed by authorities.

“I don’t know what has happened to the others. It’s too dangerous to contact people, because everyone’s phones are monitored,” said Adam.

Due to the extreme sensitivity of the subject and the danger of reprisals both against the men themselves and against their families, the names in this article have been changed, and identifying details have been excised. Both men with whom the Guardian spoke are now outside Chechnya but asked that their current location not be revealed.

Continue reading at:  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/13/they-called-us-animals-chechens-prison-beatings-electric-shocks-anti-gay-purge

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Feminism Needs To Stop Being Likable

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/58e2986ae4b09deecf0e18d0

Tailoring our message for a male or consumer audience compromises the central purpose of feminism.

Annie Agle,

Nose-in-book at my local caffeine watering hole, a male voice wafted above the pithy lilt of Millennial dialogue: “I mean, you’re not one of “those” feminists. You get it. You’re not angry.” Following said peacock’s grandiose pronouncement of this most tired of scripts, I watched in sadness as the attentive young woman at his side, instead of mounting a defense of the sisterhood, blushed with pleasure.

In media, politics, and personal exchanges, I see young feminists welcoming appreciation for this more “tolerant” feminism. Why? Why have we settled into this watered-down Instagram #girlpower when our gains have been so few and stand in constant peril of erasure? When did feminism become more concerned with being politically correct than correcting bad politics? When did we become a cause-marketing campaign instead of an intimidating breed of progressive warrior?

I get that it’s an unhappy and unachievable business to reject every aspect of modernity that fails to support the full rights of women, but what message does it send when we insist on differentiation from those man-hating feminists of yore, those bra-burning, hairy-legged Medusas with their loud mouths and militant ways? How are we to move forward towards an honest position of equality if we do not acknowledge and defend the necessity of historic feminism? Tailoring our messaging and delivery to be palatable to a male or consumer audience compromises fatally the central project of feminism.

Feminism remains, at its core, the internal and political cultivation of a rich female selfhood that does not depend on or look to systems of status quo for acknowledgement, permission, or acceptance, but rather insists on the evolution of these systems to afford place for women. A feminism that softens itself so as not to offend societal sensitivities can never affect change. Conformity and celebrity cannot be adapted or leveraged to support feminism; they are mechanisms designed for and by the worst aspects of American society to tell women how to dress, how to act, how to stay put.

We all must exist within society and I confer no blame upon women who have carved out paths to success within traditional sectors or who find empowerment in media campaigns, but feminism is not a hashtag delivered by a social influencer, a token seat at an executive table, or a disingenuous speech at a televised awards show. Let’s not kid ourselves that these things amount to much.

What does an effective, modern feminism look like in terms of action and organization? The Second Wave. Perhaps this transmutation from honorable disobedience to meek sloganism occurred because women of my generation never actually received the central message of the Second Wave; so, I want to remind them:

You are not here to be likable. Your value does not depend upon your marketability, relatability, or availability. Your sexuality was never intended as mere collateral in pay-per-click ads.

In the words of Adrienne Rich:

(Feminism) means resisting the forces in society which say that women should be nice, play safe, have low professional expectations, drown in love and forget about work, live through others, and stay in the places assigned to us. It means, therefore, the courage to be “different”; not to be continuously available.

Remain radical. Stand firm in the conviction of your worth. We are not yet equal. We are not yet respected. Public spaces are not yet secured against predators of women. Human trafficking has escalated, not declined. Estimations of our professional contributions remain below market value. There are rooms full of men in power determining the fates of our bodies, working actively to limit our self-agency. Do not look to society for answers. Or Hollywood. Look to those noble, righteous feminists of old, the ones who gave feminism a reputation, the ones who made the forces that would keep us submissive, afraid.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/58e2986ae4b09deecf0e18d0

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“Eliminate Hate” campaign seeks to expose anti-LGBTQ hate groups

From MetroWeekly:  https://www.metroweekly.com/2017/04/eliminate-hate-campaign-seeks-expose-anti-lgbtq-hate-groups/

Initiative will also seek to hold media accountable when reporting on designated hate groups

April 13, 2017

A new campaign is being launched to discredit anti-LGBTQ groups and pressure media to label them “hate groups.”

The Eliminate Hate Campaign is being spearheaded by a coalition of organizations, including National Center for Transgender Equality, the National LGBTQ Task Force, SoulForce, the Equality Federation, The Matthew Shepard Foundation and Media Matters for America.

They will seek to challenge the credibility of various anti-LGBTQ organizations, mitigate the influence they have in forcing lawmakers to pass anti-LGBTQ laws or regulations, and to dispel some of the negative myths about LGBTQ people.

“I have seen firsthand what can happen as a result of hate — and how it feels to have the hate and discrimination people face dismissed or denied,” said Judy Shepard, founder of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, named after her son who was killed in 1998.

Shepard focused her remarks on Alliance Defending Freedom, a right-wing organization that has been behind various anti-LGBTQ laws or initiatives both in the United States and abroad. The group has been classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Domestically, ADF has been linked to a number of so-called “Privacy Acts” — or “bathroom bills” — that seek to restrict transgender people’s access to restrooms and other public facilities.

ADF has also argued in favor of keeping bans on consensual adult sodomy in place, arguing that gay sex is a “public health problem,” and has defended the right of states to pass “religious freedom” laws that allow people to discriminate against LGBTQ people based on “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

Recently, the organization’s international arm sought to intervene in a lawsuit brought before the European Court of Human Rights, arguing that nations should be allowed to require the forced sterilization of transgender people who wish to legally change their gender marker.

“The Alliance Defending Freedom is a hate group, through and through,” Shepard said. “For years, they have spread lies about the LGBTQ community and put the rights of all LGBTQ Americans in danger. Enough is enough. It’s time our institutions — especially the media — start recognizing the extremely corrosive effects of their slander and act accordingly.”

The Eliminate Hate Campaign will also target media outlets that do not hold anti-LGBTQ hate groups — those that spread “demonizing lies about the LGBTQ community, engage in baseless, incendiary name-calling, or actively work to criminalize LGBTQ people” — to the same standards as they would groups that are anti-Semitic, racist, or who spread misinformation about other classes of people.

For instance, the coalition wants journalists who report on those groups’ activities to provide their readers with context, including historical background on the groups’ other anti-LGBTQ actions.

“The Eliminate Hate Campaign seeks to ensure that anti-LGBTQ hate groups are not given a megaphone for vitriolic bullying and malicious lies,” Erin Fitzgerald, LGBTQ program director for Media Matters. “Media outlets ignore long-standing histories of hate speech, incitement, and misinformation when they fail to label designated hate groups, and instead describe them as simply ‘conservative’ or ‘Christian.’”

Continue reading at:  https://www.metroweekly.com/2017/04/eliminate-hate-campaign-seeks-expose-anti-lgbtq-hate-groups/

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9 Ultranationalist Trump Supporters Who Are Rapidly Losing Patience with His Presidency

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/right-wing/9-ultranationalist-trump-supporters-who-are-rapidly-losing-patience-his-presidency

No less than Richard Spencer and Ann Coulter have called out the president. Could Steve Bannon be next?

By Jacob Sugarman
April 13, 2017

To understand just how fractious and ungainly the Trump coalition truly is, look no further than his administration. You’ll find establishment Republicans (White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Secretary of Energy Rick Perry), former Tea Party insurgents (CIA director Mike Pompeo and Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke), Wall Street players (Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin and director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn), and for the time being, clash-of-civilization ethno-nationalists (Deputy Assistant to the President Seb Gorka), not a few of whom seem to be working at cross purposes.

For the first few months of Trump’s presidency, this unholy confederacy has largely kept in formation. But in the wake of Trump’s recent Tomahawk strike on a Syrian air field, it has begun to splinter, with the president drawing the ire of some of his most loyal troops: the Pepe brigade known as the “alt-right.” Now that he has all but banished former Breitbart chair Steve Bannon from the West Wing, Trump could soon be facing a full-fledged mutiny. Even his neo-fascist admirers in Europe have begun to question his commitment to the nationalist agenda on which he campaigned. (That a loose collection of white supremacists and far-right extremists, however vile its motives, has shown a more unified opposition to military intervention than the Democratic Party is another post for another day).

The political benefits of Trump’s policy reversal seem dubious at best. It’s unlikely that he’ll gain the respect and acceptance of the establishment he so desperately seeks, despite all protestations to the contrary. And by alienating his most vocal supporters, many of whom have disseminated his message through their right-wing channels, he has left himself even more vulnerable to the corporate media’s attacks.

Here are nine Trump diehards who appear to have turned on their beloved president and political ally. One might even hazard to call them “cucks.”

1. Richard Spencer

The self-proclaimed founder of the alt-right movement, Spencer is the president of the National Policy Institute, a think tank devoted to “peaceful ethnic cleansing.” As recently as November of 2016, Spencer led a conference of more than 200 attendees in a cheer of “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!” while delivering a Nazi salute.

Spencer was quick to condemn the missile strikes on Syria, calling for Bannon’s resignation and likening Trump’s presidency to a third term of George W. Bush. The white nationalist, or identitarian as he prefers to be known, even intimated he’d throw his support behind Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) in 2020.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/right-wing/9-ultranationalist-trump-supporters-who-are-rapidly-losing-patience-his-presidency


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Gorsuch: Skeptical That LGBT People Deserve Rights

From The Advocate:  http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2017/4/05/gorsuch-skeptical-lgbt-people-deserve-rights

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Bigoted Christians Are the Most Special Snowflakes

From The Advocate: http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2017/4/11/bigoted-christians-are-most-special-snowflakes

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Look Beyond Caitlyn Jenner: Transgender Women of Color Are Fighting for Their Lives

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/lgbtq/look-beyond-caitlyn-jenner-transgender-women-color-are-fighting-their-lives

From murder to poverty to housing discrimination, these communities face staggering violence.

By Sarah Lazare / AlterNet
April 6, 2017

Last Thursday marked the eighth annual International Transgender Day of Visibility, an occasion aimed at pushing back against the exclusion and isolation this community has been forced to endure.

Indeed there are signs that transgender people—particularly those who are wealthy and white—are gaining visibility in 2017, as illustrated by the global prominence of television personality and Donald Trump supporter Caitlyn Jenner. But this visibility does not, in itself, improve material conditions for the vast majority of transgender people, who are far more likely to face housing discrimination, deep poverty, incarceration and murder, especially if they are people of color. At least seven transgender women have been killed this year already, putting it on track to be the deadliest year ever for the community. Of the women who were slain, six were black and one was Lakota two-spirit.

Meanwhile the Trump administration and state-level lawmakers have advanced a spate of initiatives that directly threaten the public safety and wellness of transgender people, including so-called bathroom bills.

In light of these realities, organizers across the country are calling for social movements to address the conditions that transgender people face, particularly those who are targeted by multiple forms of oppression, from poverty to police violence.

“In this time we are seeing more and more that what it means to fight for transgender people is to do the things that communities, including transgender communities, have long been fighting for,” said Micky Bradford, an Atlanta-based organizer with Southerners on New Ground and the Transgender Law Center. “We need safety and the power to shift material conditions and break the isolation between all of us. We need to be talking about what it takes to stop the killing of Black transgender women and dismantle patriarchy.”

‘Safety is a big deal to transgender communities’

The structural violence faced by transgender communities is staggering. According to the news outlet Mic, which is building a database to track murders of transgender people, young, black transgender women have a far greater chance of being murdered, with one in 2,600 killed. This compares to one in 19,000 for the general population.

Violence also takes the form of systematic discrimination. The National Center for Transgender Equality notes that, “One in five transgender people in the United States has been discriminated when seeking a home, and more than one in ten have been evicted from their homes, because of their gender identity.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/lgbtq/look-beyond-caitlyn-jenner-transgender-women-color-are-fighting-their-lives

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Court: Civil Rights Act covers LGBT workplace bias

From The Chicago Tribune:  http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-law-covers-lgbt-workplace-bias-20170404-story.html

Tony Briscoe
April 4, 2017

A federal court in Chicago on Tuesday became the first U.S. appellate court in the nation to rule that LGBT employees are protected from workplace discrimination under the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

The decision by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sends the case involving Kim Hively, a former Indiana community college teacher who claims she was denied promotions and let go from her job because she is a lesbian, back to a federal district court in Indiana.

“It’s really good to know that it’s making some headway,” said Hively, who now works as a high school math teacher in Indiana. “I always thought there was a big disconnect when they legalized gay marriage but didn’t extend any protections against workplace or housing discrimination. What they’re doing is allowing people to lose jobs and homes just because they fell in love.”

Eight judges on the Chicago appellate court agreed that workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Three judges wrote dissenting opinions.

“Viewed through the lens of the gender non-conformity line of cases, Hively represents the ultimate case of failure to conform to the female stereotype,” chief judge Diane P. Wood wrote for the majority. “Hively’s claim is no different from the claims brought by women who were rejected for jobs in traditionally male workplaces, such as fire departments, construction, and policing.”

The ruling comes just three weeks after a three-judge panel in Atlanta ruled that employers aren’t prohibited from discriminating against employees based on sexual orientation.

The Hively case stems from an incident in 2009, when someone reported seeing the adjunct teacher at Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana in South Bend kiss her girlfriend goodbye in a car in the campus parking lot. The next day, Hively said, an administrator reprimanded her for “sucking face” and chastised her unprofessional behavior.

In the following five years, Hively was not granted full-time status despite multiple applications and was let go in 2014. She sued the community college herself in 2013, claiming she was “blocked from fulltime employment without just cause,” specifically her sexual preference.

Hively was represented by lawyers with LGBT advocacy group Lambda Legal in her appeals. Gregory Nevins, Lambda’s counsel and employment fairness project director, who has argued prejudice against gender and sexual orientation are the same thing, called Tuesday’s ruling a “game changer” for the LGBT community.

“Now that we see this in the right light, I think we’ll see a domino effect (court by court),” Nevins said. “All of those cases ruled in the last 15 or 30 years, that’s a moot point. It’s a new day.”

Tuesday’s ruling creates a precedent for lower courts in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin to follow. Hively’s case, Nevins said, will return to the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Indiana, which previously had sided with Ivy Tech and dismissed Hively’s case with prejudice.

Continue reading at:  http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-law-covers-lgbt-workplace-bias-20170404-story.html

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