Transphobic Parent Activists Target Journalists With Misinformation About Pediatricians

From Forbes:  https://www.forbes.com/sites/tarahaelle/2018/11/04/transphobic-parent-activists-target-journalists-with-misinformation-about-pediatricians/amp/

Tara Haelle
Nov 4, 2018

In advance of the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), a poorly organized group of “parent activists” repeatedly spammed more than 45 journalists to spread misinformation about the AAP’s policy on caring for children and adolescents who do not necessarily feel comfortable identifying as the male or female gender they were assigned at birth.

These children might identify as transgender, might identify as a gender that is non-binary (that is, neither completely “male” or “female”) or might simply need time to figure out how they feel about who they are. The AAP released a policy statement last month with guidance for pediatricians on caring for these children. It’s that policy statement and the planned discussions about transgender youth care at the AAP meeting that these activists address.

Their primary concern is the incorrect belief that the AAP is forcing “powerful puberty blockers and hormones and bodily surgeries” onto their transgender and gender-diverse children. But that’s a far cry from what their policy statement, which promotes “gender affirmation care,” actually says. In fact, across its 10 pages, only a third of one page discusses pubertal suppression medication at all.

“The gender affirmation model is not necessarily based on treatment,” explained Jason Rafferty, MD, MPH, EdM, a pediatrician and child psychiatrist at the gender and sexuality clinic and at the adolescent health center at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Rhode Island, and the lead author of the AAP statement. “The core is about creating a safe, nonjudgmental space to really receive these sorts of concerns and questions that kids and families may have so that you can begin to mobilize appropriate supports, whether it be behavioral health or family support or an alliance with your pediatrician to help explore some of these concerns.”

Sounds pretty radical, right? Giving children nonjudgmental support to ask questions without feeling frightened or shamed? That the statement the people spamming journalists have a problem with.

Why Write About This?

Typically, I avoid drawing attention to this kind of behavior because it’s not generally helpful to give oxygen to people sharing inaccurate statements and criticizing evidence-based policies. But I’m making exception for a few reasons:

1) The misinformation they share includes commonly held misconceptions by the public in general, so this is a good opportunity to educate others on what the AAP’s policy actually is and why the evidence-based policy is important for the physical, mental and emotional health of children and teens—including literally saving their lives.

2) Anyone who sends me more than a dozen identical copy-and-pasted messages from random email addresses that contain more than 1,400 words and an 8-page single-spaced letter attachment deserves to be called out not only for their false information but also their sheer stupidity in thinking this is an effective way to get me to take them seriously.

3) The lengthy statement says “it has been difficult to get much attention on the truth of gender identity due to the political nature of this topic” and includes this plea: “Do not let politics and fear keep you from the truth.” And so I won’t.

Continue reading at:  https://www.forbes.com/sites/tarahaelle/2018/11/04/transphobic-parent-activists-target-journalists-with-misinformation-about-pediatricians/amp/

We asked a trans woman to speak on our #metoo panel. Then the abuse began.

From The Spinoff NZ:  https://thespinoff.co.nz/society/30-10-2018/we-invited-a-trans-woman-to-speak-on-our-metoo-panel-then-the-abuse-began/


October 30, 2018

A Wellington sexual abuse support group invited a survivor and scientist, who is transgender, to speak at their AGM this week. Almost immediately came a barrage of attacks from all around the world.

Wellington Sexual Abuse HELP does exactly what our name suggests. We exist to support survivors of sexual abuse, their families and whānau, throughout Wellington, Porirua and Kāpiti. We have been doing this since 1985, and we support people of any age, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation.

Before I get any further, it is important to reiterate that sexual abuse and violence happens overwhelmingly to women. Sexual violence is a gendered issue. For centuries, women and women’s bodies have been treated like property – something to be owned and consumed, used and abused.

And the same patriarchal culture that enables this has allowed other vulnerable groups – boys, gender minorities, people with disabilities and others – to be targeted too.

  • 1 in 3 girls will have some kind of unwanted sexual experience before they are 16
  • Between 1 in 6 and 1 in 8 boys experience some form of sexual abuse
  • 1 in 2 transgender people, and half of all people with disabilities, experience some form of sexual abuse.

This is a blight on us all.

But the tide is changing. A year ago #metoo exploded on to the scene. Women working in the film industry in the US raised their hands to say Me Too – exposing Harvey Weinstein and so many others like him and the decades of abuse they had gotten away with.

Of course the architect of #metoo was a woman called Tarana Burke, an African-American civil rights activist, who had spoken out years before. Reflecting a year on from #metoo going viral, she recently said:

“We are working diligently so that the popular narrative about #MeToo shifts from what it is. We have to shift the narrative that it’s a gender war … that it’s only for a certain type of person — that it’s for white, cisgender, heterosexual, famous women. That has to shift. And I think that it is shifting, I really do.”

Hold that thought.

As part of our work at HELP we are passionately committed to working with community – to engage in the issues as well as provide specialist support. We are here to change the culture that causes the problem in the first place.

Tomorrow we are holding our annual meeting and a panel. We want to talk about what has actually happened since the advent of #metoo on the popular stage, and what still needs to change.

We share Tarana Burke’s outlook. We know only too well that the more you stand out from the crowd – the further away you step out from the heterosexual norm – you more likely you are to be targeted. That to change the narrative we need the voices of survivors from across the spectrum speaking out.

So as part of our six-person panel, we have a transgender woman, Sally Dellow – a survivor and a scientist – providing her perspective. Sally has been campaigning for over 30 years to claim the space that is rightfully hers. She may have been assigned a male gender identity at birth but it is her human right to be recognised as female.

In the lead up to the event we have been profiling the speakers on social media – with a photo and a bio. We posted Sally’s on the afternoon of Wednesday the 17th.

What happened next was for us a huge eye opener into the struggle that trans women face.

Continue reading at:  https://thespinoff.co.nz/society/30-10-2018/we-invited-a-trans-woman-to-speak-on-our-metoo-panel-then-the-abuse-began/

American Jews Know How This Story Goes

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/02/opinion/sunday/jews-pittsburgh-anti-semitism-prayer.html

The way forward from Pittsburgh is written in our prayer books.

By Dara Horn
Nov. 2, 2018

“There are no words.”

This was what I heard most often last weekend from those who were stunned by the news: 11 people were murdered at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh — believed to be the largest massacre of Jews on American soil. But there are words for this, entire books full of words: the books the murdered people were reading at the hour of their deaths. News reports described these victims as praying, but Jewish prayer is not primarily personal or spontaneous. It is communal reading. Public recitations of ancient words, scripts compiled centuries ago and nearly identical in every synagogue in the world. A lot of those words are about exactly this.

When I told my children what had happened, they didn’t ask why; they knew. “Because some people hate Jews,” they said. How did these American children know that? They shrugged. “It’s like the Passover story,” my 9-year-old told me. “And the Hanukkah story. And the Purim story. And the Babylonians, and the Romans.” My children are descendants of Holocaust survivors, but they didn’t go that far forward in history. The words were already there.

The people murdered in Pittsburgh were mostly old, because the old are the pillars of Jewish life, full of days and memories. They are the ones who come to synagogue first, the ones who know the words by heart. The oldest victim was Rose Mallinger, 97.

The year Ms. Mallinger was born was the tail end of the mass migration of more than two million Eastern European Jews to America between 1881 and 1924. Many brought with them memories of pogroms, of men invading synagogues with weapons, of blood on holy books. This wasn’t shocking, because it was already described in those books. On Yom Kippur in synagogue, these Jews read the stories of rabbis murdered by the Romans, including Rabbi Hanina ben Tradyon, who was wrapped in a Torah scroll set aflame. Before dying, he told his students, “The parchment is burning, but the letters are flying free!”

My synagogue’s old prayer book hints at what these stories meant to American Jews Ms. Mallinger’s age. Its 1939 English preface to those stories of murdered rabbis asks: “Who can forget, even after decades, the sight of his father huddled in the great prayer shawl and trying in vain to conceal the tears which flowed down his cheeks during the recital of this poem?” By the time I was a kid reciting those poetic stories, no one was crying. Instead my siblings and I smirked at the excessive gory details, the violence unfamiliar enough to be absurd. But Rabbi Hanina must have been right, because we still were reading from that same scroll, the same words Jews first taught the world: Do not oppress the stranger. Love your neighbor as yourself.

People Ms. Mallinger’s age were in their 20s when word spread about mass murders of Jews in Europe. In synagogue on Rosh Hashana, they read the old words begging God for compassion, “for the sake of those killed for your holy name,” and “for the sake of those slaughtered for your uniqueness.” My husband’s grandparents came here after those massacres, their previous spouses and children slaughtered like the people in the prayer. They kept reciting the prayer, and for their new American family it reverted to metaphor.

In the decades that followed, Jews from other places joined American synagogues, many bringing memories that American Jews had forgotten. Those memories were waiting for them in the synagogue’s books. On the holiday of Purim, they recited the Book of Esther, about an ancient Persian leader’s failed attempt at a Jewish genocide. It’s a time for costumes and levity, for shaking noisemakers to blot out the evildoer’s name. One year my brother dressed as the ayatollah, and the Persians in our congregation laughed. Another year someone dressed as Gorbachev; the Russians loved it. The evildoers seemed defeated.

Continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/02/opinion/sunday/jews-pittsburgh-anti-semitism-prayer.html