We Are Asking the Court to Put an Immediate Stop to the President’s Anti-Trans Military Ban

From The ACLU:  https://www.aclu.org/blog/lgbt-rights/transgender-rights/we-are-asking-court-put-immediate-stop-presidents-anti-trans

By Chase Strangio, Staff Attorney, ACLU LGBT & HIV Project
September 14, 2017

Imagine serving your country for over a decade in the armed forces — many of those years hiding the truth of who you are, but still showing up each day to fight for something bigger than yourself.

You put yourself on the line.

You depend on your service for your benefits, for your survival, for the survival of your family.

You plan your entire life around your career.

After years of committed service, the government finally changes policy and you can serve proudly and openly. You can be who you are and continue to thrive in your work. You don’t have to hide under the mask of an inauthentic self.

Then, in an instant, after you rely on assurances that your livelihood and existence will be safe, your government turns on you — in a tweet from your commander in chief, you are told that you cannot serve “in any capacity”; you are told that because you are transgender, everything about who you are and what you have done is irrelevant because you are not wanted. The entire country watches as you are humiliated and demeaned, and everyone is sent a message that somehow you are unworthy of even basic decency because of who you are.

This is what happened to transgender individuals in the United States armed forces.

For years, transgender individuals were barred from open military service based on outdated and outright incorrect views about what it means to be transgender. In 2016, after years of study and careful analysis, that ban on service was lifted, and a new policy allowing transgender individuals to serve openly in the Armed Forces was implemented.

But after a tweet from President Trump on July 26 and a subsequent directive signed on August 25, the Department of Defense was instructed by the president to reverse course and again ban transgender individuals from openly serving in the military. The directive also included banning coverage for medically necessary medical procedures and beginning a process of subjecting currently serving individuals to separation just for being transgender.

Pensions are on the line. Medical care is being cancelled. Enlistments are prohibited. People’s entire lives and careers are disrupted.

Continue reading at:  https://www.aclu.org/blog/lgbt-rights/transgender-rights/we-are-asking-court-put-immediate-stop-presidents-anti-trans

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Common Enemies, Common Causes: Queer People and the Labor Movement

From Infomore:  https://intomore.com/impact/common-enemies-common-causes-queer-people-and-the-labor-movement/

You might not think that Labor Day is a queer holiday, but queer people are a part of US labor movement history.

By: Mathew Rodriguez
Sep 4 2017

The labor rights movement in America is about economics. And the US fight for queer liberation is about civil rights and sexual liberation. But, while they may seem totally different on the outside, these movements do intersect. Queer women, men and trans people have all played a significant part in US labor rights history, and the fight for fair wages and benefits has often been a fight for better working standards for queer people.

To illuminate further just how much queer people were a part of the US workers rights’ movements, INTO spoke with Miriam Frank, author of Out in the Union: A Labor History of Queer America.

I’m very interested that you draw this parallel early in the book between states historically with anti-sodomy laws and states with anti-union laws. You point out that in 12 states that continued to have anti-sodomy laws until the 2003 Supreme Court case Lawrence v. Texas  — Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Virginia — there are also present day anti-union or “right to work” laws. Beyond those both being conservative talking points, are there any ways these are related?

There is a heritage in the states that have right to work laws that also had sodomy statutes. There is a heritage of anti-liberal, anti-free — it is not obviously misogynistic but it is misogynistic.

The reason I wrote the book was to show how these two movements, which are very different — the gay movement is about a way of being sexual and the labor movement is about making a living. Unless you’re doing sex work, they aren’t really the same thing at all. They don’t really have the same reasons, they don’t have the same history, they don’t attack the same kinds of people, they don’t have organize the same way, they are not restricted by the same laws. But, because they have the same enemy — the hostile anti-gay, the anti-sex, anti-liberal laws Christian Right, you can define it anyway you want to — we have common enemies, and so we have common causes. My intention in the book was to show how that worked out in the process of working for a living and being out at your own workplace in the form of working a union.

Everyone believes there should be a union and they should negotiate with the boss and then they find out that the guy you’re working next to is trying to get domestic partner benefits in their union contract and this guy doesn’t think queers are good people. How does someone struggle with that? How does someone make an alliance with someone who isn’t exactly like them? The cause has to be a forethought.

So, you touch on a lot of different industries in the book, but you do say that a lot of unions learned from the teacher’s union. Would you say that was the earliest and most vociferous defenders of queer union members?

Yes, because a flashpoint, a shining point of homophobia, is “Those queer men are going to turn my little boy into a fag!” You know, the whole thing about pedophilia, that thing is a livewire issue today but the teachers unions have really pushed that back and have campaigned. They didn’t really want to. They started out wishing, “Just keep quiet and we won’t have any problems,” and then we did have problems. Again if you go to california and you go to proposition 6, the Briggs Initiative, which was a huge campaign in California in 1978, the briggs initiative was defeated by an amazing coalition of liberal coalitions. Not only unions, but liberal religious groups, the Girl Scouts, everyone got on the bandwagon and thy pushed back the hostile initiative. Six years later in Oregon, another group of people were trying to do the same thing. They kept running these bogus campaigns about pedophilia. The teachers’ union, having learned from the Briggs initiative said “it’s not going to happen.” And in fact in Oregon, in the state of Washington, in a lot of places where there were strong teachers union movements, that’s never went anywhere.

Continue reading at:  https://intomore.com/impact/common-enemies-common-causes-queer-people-and-the-labor-movement/

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Americans Are Confronting an Alarming Question: Are Many of Our Fellow Citizens ‘Nazis’?

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/05/magazine/americans-are-confronting-an-alarming-question-are-many-of-our-fellow-citizens-nazis.html

By

One morning in mid-August, Americans woke up in what felt, to some, like an altered country. The week’s most notable political event had begun with hundreds of Americans carrying torches while chanting “Sieg heil” and “Jews will not replace us.” White supremacist radicals like these had been active and energized throughout the presidential campaign, but much of their energy had been restricted to the internet. The rally in Charlottesville was markedly different. It confronted America with an unlikely question: Was it possible the nation was seeing a burgeoning political faction of … actual Nazis? People we should actually call Nazis?

“Nazi” is a remarkable example of the very different routes a word can take through the world. In this case, that word is the Latin name “Ignatius.” In Spanish, it followed a noble path: It became Ignacio, and then the nickname Nacho, and then — after a Mexican cook named Ignacio Anaya had a moment of inspiration — it became delicious, beloved nachos. In Bavaria, a much darker transformation took place. Ignatius became the common name Ignatz, or in its abbreviated form, Nazi. In the early 20th century, Bavarian peasants were frequent subjects of German mockery, and “Nazi” became the archetypal name for a comic figure: a bumbling, dimwitted yokel. “Just as Irish jokes always involve a man called Paddy,” the etymologist Mark Forsyth writes in his 2011 book “The Etymologicon,” “so Bavarian jokes always involved a peasant called Nazi.” When Adolf Hitler’s party emerged from Bavaria with a philosophy called “Nationalsozialismus,” two of that word’s syllables were quickly repurposed by Hitler’s cosmopolitan opponents. They started calling the new party Nazis — implying, to the Nazis’ great displeasure, that they were all backward rubes.

That original, taunting meaning of “Nazi” is now long gone, replaced forever by the image of history’s most despised regime. This is precisely why the word has resurfaced in American conversation, aimed at the white supremacist arm of the so-called alt-right: It is perhaps the single most potent condemnation in our language, a word that provides instant moral clarity. Not everyone, though, is entirely comfortable with this new usage. The New Yorker’s Jelani Cobb finds “Nazi” insufficient as a label for American racists, because when we use it, he writes, “we summon the idea of the United States’ moral victories, and military ones” — references that make little sense when we’re talking about American-made moral failures. Lindsey E. Jones, a Ph.D. student of history in Charlottesville, tweeted that a long history of American racism is “conveniently erased” when figures like the white nationalist Richard Spencer are reduced to “Nazis.”

But if “Nazi” isn’t quite the right word for the fringe groups now attempting a takeover of national politics — if it’s sloppy and inexact and papers over just how widespread some of these bigotries are — then “Nazi” will, in a way, have returned to its roots. It began as a broad, imprecise and patronizing slur. Then it became a precise historical classification. (One that, you might argue, “conveniently erased” widespread anti-Semitism throughout Europe and America.) Now we find ourselves arguing over whether it can serve as a general epithet again — a name for a whole assortment of distasteful ideologies. Nearly 80 years after Kristallnacht, we are not exactly sure what a Nazi is, or should be.

Continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/05/magazine/americans-are-confronting-an-alarming-question-are-many-of-our-fellow-citizens-nazis.html

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Sen. Gillibrand files amendment against Trump’s trans military ban

From The Washington Blade:  http://www.washingtonblade.com/2017/09/11/sen-gillibrand-files-amendment-trump-trans-military-ban/

by Chris Johnson
September 11, 2017

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) filed an amendment Monday before the U.S. Senate that would undermine President Trump’s ban on transgender military service and could see a vote as soon as this week.

The two-page amendment, co-sponsored by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), was filed for consideration as part of the fiscal year 2018 defense authorization bill. The amendment was obtained late Monday by the Washington Blade.

Gillibrand said in a statement the amendment would honor transgender service members currently serving in the armed forces.

“Any individual who wants to join our military and meets the standards should be allowed to serve, period. Gender identity should have nothing to do with it,” Gillibrand said. “I am proud to work with Sen. Collins to introduce our bipartisan amendment to protect transgender members of our Armed Forces, and I will always fight for our brave transgender troops who put their lives on the line to protect our country.”

Both Gillibrand and Collins championed efforts in 2010 for legislative repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” They both were among the 45 senators who signed a letter to Defense Secretary James Mattis urging him to resist Trump’s plan to bar transgender people from the U.S. military.

Collins, the lead Republican in efforts to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” also expressed support for transgender troops in a statement.

Our armed forces should welcome the service of any qualified individual who is willing and capable of serving our country,” Collins said. “If individuals are willing to put on the uniform of our country, be deployed in war zones, and risk their lives for our freedoms, then we should be expressing our gratitude to them, not trying to exclude them from military service.”

The amendment, which responds to President Trump’s memo late last month directing the Pentagon to ban transgender people from the armed forces, consists of three parts.

Continue reading at:   http://www.washingtonblade.com/2017/09/11/sen-gillibrand-files-amendment-trump-trans-military-ban/

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‘The personal is the political’: Model Teddy Quinlivan reveals transgender identity

From CNN:  http://www.cnn.com/style/article/teddy-quinlivan-transgender-model/index.html

Clive Martin, CNN
13th September 2017

As the fashion industry bows to pressure to become more progressive with its casting choices, a new generation of models from all backgrounds, cultures, genders and sexualities has taken to the runways. The transgender community — for so long underrepresented in fashion — can today count several fashion superstars in its ranks, namely Gucci muse Hari Nef and fashion week stalwart Andreja Pejić.

Now, in a CNN Style exclusive, model Teddy Quinlivan is publicly disclosing her transgender identity for the very first time.

Quinlivan, 23, is a catwalk and campaign regular, having walked for the likes of Jeremy Scott, Carolina Herrera and Diane Von Furstenberg at this fall’s New York Fashion week alone. Since being discovered by Louis Vuitton’s creative director Nicolas Ghesquière in 2015, her career has been in the ascendant.

Speaking between New York Fashion Week shows, Quinlivan explains what inspired her to come out, during what appears to be a crucial time for transgender people.

‘Doing it for myself’

“I’ve decided to reveal my trans identity because of the political climate in the world right now — particularly in the United States,” Quinlivan said. “We made an amazing progression under the Obama administration, and since the new administration took office there’s been a kind of backlash.

“There’s been violence against transgender people — particularly transgender women of color — since before I even knew what transgender was. I just felt a great sense of urgency. I’m very fortunate to be in (a) position (that) I never really thought I would be. It’s really important to take advantage of a time like this.”

With her views on Trump and violence against the trans community, would Quinlivan say that her decision to come out is rooted in politics, or something more personal? “I think the personal is political,” she replied. “It’s political, but I’m also doing it for myself. I was ready to come out, but I think the times we live in elevated the sense of importance and urgency.”

Quinlivan accepts that her announcement may bring a backlash from less accepting corners of the internet — or even negative ramifications for her fashion career.

“I’m definitely a little bit nervous, because I’ve been presenting as cisgender (a person who identifies with the sex they were assigned at birth) for so long,” she said. “Since I transitioned when I was 16, I’ve been living as a cis female … I was very lucky, because I won the genetic lottery — I looked a certain way and my voice hadn’t dropped. That privilege gave me a lot of confidence to walk down the street, date and (work) in the fashion industry, where people I would presume I was a ‘normal’ girl.

Complete article at:  http://www.cnn.com/style/article/teddy-quinlivan-transgender-model/index.html

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‘No Fascist USA!’: how hardcore punk fuels the Antifa movement

From The Guardian UK:  https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/sep/09/no-fascist-usa-how-hardcore-punk-fuels-the-antifa-movement

The anti-fascist movement draws on punk’s political awareness and network for activism – and right now may be its most crucial moment

by
Saturday 9 September 2017

“No Trump! No KKK! No Fascist USA!”

When Green Day chanted the repurposed lyrics from Texan punk trailblazers MDC’s 1981 song Born to Die during the 2016 American Music Awards, it gave the burgeoning anti-Trump, anti-fascist movement the slogan it needed – and it would soon appear on placards, T-shirts and be chanted by protesters in their thousands in months to come.

It was a tiny piece of punk history writ large on American cultural life – but it only gave the merest hint of US hardcore punk’s influence on the current political landscape.

As political commentators struggle to nail down the exact nature of Antifa’s masked legions, they’ve overlooked one thing: Antifa has been critically influenced by hardcore punk for nearly four decades.

From the collectivist principles of anarchist punk bands such as Crass and Conflict, the political outrage of groups such as the Dead Kennedys, MDC and Discharge, Antifa draws on decades of protest, self-protection and informal networks under the auspices of a musical movement.

Mark Bray, author of The Antifa Handbook, says that “in many cases, the North American modern Antifa movement grew up as a way to defend the punk scene from the neo-Nazi skinhead movement, and the founders of the original Anti-Racist Action network in North America were anti-racist skinheads. The fascist/anti-fascist struggle was essentially a fight for control of the punk scene [during the 1980s], and that was true across of much of north America and in parts of Europe in this era.”

“There’s a huge overlap between radical left politics and the punk scene, and there’s a stereotype about dirty anarchists and punks, which is an oversimplification but grounded in a certain amount of truth.”

Drawing influence from anti-fascist groups in 1930s Germany, the UK-based Anti-Fascist Action formed in the late 70s in reaction the growing popularity of rightwing political parties such as the National Front and the British Movement. They would shut down extreme-right meetings at every opportunity, whether it be a march or a gathering in a room above a pub. Inspired by this, anti-racist skinheads in Minneapolis formed Anti-Racist Action, which soon gained traction in punk scenes across the US. Meanwhile, in New York, a movement called Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice sprung up.

The term “Antifa” was adopted by German antifascists in the 80s, accompanied by the twin-flag logo, which then spread around Europe, and finally pitched up in the US after being adopted by an anarchist collective in Portland, Oregon.

Continue reading at:  https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/sep/09/no-fascist-usa-how-hardcore-punk-fuels-the-antifa-movement

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The Media Doesn’t Understand What Trump is Doing | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann

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