7th Circuit affirms bathroom access for trans student

From Washington Blade:  http://www.washingtonblade.com/2017/05/30/7th-circuit-affirms-bathroom-access-for-trans-student/

by Chris Johnson
May 30, 2017

In another legal decision affirming federal law ensures bathroom access for transgender students, a federal appeals court has determined a transgender student in Wisconsin must be allowed access to restrooms at his high school consistent with his gender identity.

In a 35-page decision, a three-judge panel the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously in favor of Ashton Whitaker, a 17-year-old who sued Kenosha Unified School District for requiring him to use a restroom separate from one used by all other students.

Writing for the court, U.S. Circuit Judge Ann Claire Williams, an Obama appointee, determined Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972, which bars discrimination in schools on the basis of sex, applies to Ash’s situation.

“A policy that requires an individual to use a bathroom that does not conform with his or her gender identity punishes that individual for his or her gender non‐conformance, which in turn violates Title IX,” Williams writes.

Joining Williams in the decision was U.S. Circuit Judge Ilana Rovner, an appointee of George W. Bush, and U.S. Circuit Judge Diane Wood, a Clinton appointee.

The decision upholds a preliminary injunction U.S. District Judge Pamela Pepper, an Obama appointee, issued in September requiring Kenosha Unified School District to change its policy.

Ash said in a statement he’s “thrilled” the Seventh Circuit determined that Pepper’s decision should stand as the litigation and his studies continue.

“After facing daily humiliation at school last year from being threatened with discipline and being constantly monitored by school staff just to use the bathroom, the district court’s injunction in September allowed me to be a typical senior in high school and to focus on my classes, after-school activities, applying to college, and building lasting friendships,” Ash said.

Continue reading at:  http://www.washingtonblade.com/2017/05/30/7th-circuit-affirms-bathroom-access-for-trans-student/

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Why Wonder Woman is a masterpiece of subversive feminism

From The Guardian UK:  https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jun/05/why-wonder-woman-is-a-masterpiece-of-subversive-feminism

Yes, the new movie sees its titular heroine sort of naked a lot of the time. But the film-makers have still worked to turn sexist Hollywood conventions on their head


Monday 5 June 2017

The chances are you will read a feminist takedown of Wonder Woman before you see the film. And you’ll probably agree with it. Wonder Woman is a half-god, half-mortal super-creature; she is without peer even in superhero leagues. And yet, when she arrives in London to put a stop to the war to end all wars, she instinctively obeys a handsome meathead who has no skills apart from moderate decisiveness and pretty eyes. This is a patriarchal figment. Then, naturally, you begin to wonder why does she have to fight in knickers that look like a fancy letterbox made of leather? Does her appearance and its effect on the men around her really have to play such a big part in all her fight scenes? Even my son lodged a feminist critique: if she were half god, he said, she would have recognised the god Ares immediately – unless he were a better god than her (being a male god).

I agree with all of that, but I still loved it. I didn’t love it as a guilty pleasure. I loved it with my whole heart. Wonder Woman, or Diana Prince, as her civilian associates would know her, first appeared as a character in DC Comics in 1941, her creator supposedly inspired by the feminism of the time, and specifically the contraception pioneer Margaret Sanger. Being able to stop people getting pregnant would be a cool superpower, but, in fact, her skills were: bullet-pinging with bracelets; lassoing; basic psychology; great strength and athleticism; and being half-god (the result of unholy congress between Zeus and Hyppolyta). The 1970s TV version lost a lot of the poetry of that, and was just all-American cheesecake. Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman made her cinematic debut last year in Batman v Superman, and this first live-action incarnation makes good on the character’s original premise, the classical-warrior element amped up and textured. Her might makes sense.

Yes, she is sort of naked a lot of the time, but this isn’t objectification so much as a cultural reset: having thighs, actual thighs you can kick things with, not thighs that look like arms, is a feminist act. The whole Diana myth, women safeguarding the world from male violence not with nurture but with better violence, is a feminist act. Casting Robin Wright as Wonder Woman’s aunt, re-imagining the battle-axe as a battler, with an axe, is a feminist act. A female German chemist trying to destroy humans (in the shape of Dr Poison, a proto-Mengele before Nazism existed) might be the most feminist act of all.

Women are repeatedly erased from the history of classical music, art and medicine. It takes a radical mind to pick up that being erased from the history of evil is not great either. Wonder Woman’s casual rebuttal of a sexual advance, her dress-up montage (“it’s itchy”, “I can’t fight in this”, “it’s choking me”) are also feminist acts. Wonder Woman is a bit like a BuzzFeed list: 23 Stupid Sexist Tropes in Cinema and How to Rectify Them. I mean that as a compliment.

Continue reading at:  https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jun/05/why-wonder-woman-is-a-masterpiece-of-subversive-feminism

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Why the Middle East’s Christians Are Under Attack

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/26/opinion/why-the-middle-easts-christians-are-under-attack.html

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