Trans Activist Julie Berman Murdered in Toronto

From The Advocate:

A 29-year-old man has been arrested for Berman’s killing.

By Neal Broverman
December 27 2019

Julie Berman, a woman long active in Toronto trans community, was found murdered on Sunday, The Globe and Mail reports.

Berman, suffering from head injuries, was discovered by Toronto police and brought to a hospital where she was pronounced dead. A 29-year-old man named Colin Harnack has been charged with second-degree murder.

Employed as a hairdresser, Berman has been active in the trans rights group The 519 for over three decades, according to the newspaper. Berman memorably delivered a speech at an event held for 2017’s Trans Day of Remembrance, where she spoke of the injustice of transphobia and the murder of one of her friends, who was trans.

“It’s really heartbreaking … the same thing that she was trying to be vocal about happened to her,” Davina Hader, a friend of the victim and a member of The 519, told The Globe and Mail.

Three trans people in Toronto have died from violence in the past couple years, according to the paper. There is an epidemic of anti-trans violence in the U.S., with at least 20 Black trans women murdered just this year.

See Also:

Activist who raised awareness about transphobia murdered in Toronto

Trans activist who tirelessly campaigned against transphobia found murdered in Canada

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Peter, Paul and Mary “Light One Candle” (25th Anniversary Concert)

It has been one really fucked up year.  For Tina and me and for the country and world in general.  Tonight at Shabbos services on JBS they played the Peter, Paul and Mary song.  “Light one Candle”

I remember when we were better people, when we were kinder and stood against injustice.  Hopefully we can rid ourselves of the degenerate moral monster in the White House come next November and take both the House and Senate.

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Rep. Pramila Jayapal wants transgender people in Congress

From LGBTQ Nation:

She hopes there will be trans people in Congress soon, but for now “our role is always to bring the voices of those who are not in the room to the table.”

Monday, December 2, 2019

Earlier this year, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the landmark Equality Act, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes under existing federal civil rights laws. At the hearing, several Republicans tried to claim that they favored rights for gay, lesbian, and bisexual people but drew the line at trans rights.

Anti-trans activist Julia Beck, the Republican witness at the hearing, threw out a parade of alleged horribles that would transpire should trans people – particularly trans women – became protected under the law.

But midway through the hearing Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) revealed that her child had recently come out to her as non-binary. Through tears, she brought a personal and emotional appeal to debate over the bill before it was advanced out of the committee on a party line vote.

Jayapal is co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus and has taken a leadership role in pushing for progressive legislation like Medicare for All.

She sat down recently with LGBTQ Nation to talk about the current state of LGBTQ rights and the value of having queer people and allies in government.

LGBTQ Nation: I was particularly moved by your speech during the committee hearing for the Equality Act hearing. Given that there’s no openly trans members of Congress, how can you give voice to trans people as an ally and a parent of a non-binary child?

Rep. Pramila Jayapal: First of all, I hope that changes soon. I was so excited to see [Delegate] Danica Roem elected in Virginia and you know, I believe that we’re going to have more of that across the country and hopefully in Congress. But I think our role is always to bring the voices of those who are not in the room to the table, and to bring those individuals to the table as witnesses, as testifiers, to hear those stories.

That’s the role I see for myself as an ally, is first of all to make sure I fully understand the broad scope of the issues that people are facing, to bring them up constantly, to invite trans members and non-binary members to testify in front of us, which I did with the Immigration Bill. And then, when I came out, I guess it is, as the mother of a non-binary child, which I had to ask them, I had to ask my kid if that was okay in the middle of the hearing and they were so generous and said, “If it’s going to help people then yes.”

But I think it’s important for people to see, I think I’m the only member who has at least openly said that I have a gender nonconforming child. I don’t know if I’m the only member that has one, but I’m the only one who has proudly claimed that label. But it gives me an opportunity to make this not just about the issue and how important it is to everybody, but also to put a personal point on it, and to proudly declare my support as a mother.

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Happy Hanukkah

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Slain Brooklyn Woman Believed to Be Transgender

From Gay City News:

Police have yet to confirm victim’s gender identity, but other evidence tells the story

BY Matt Tracy
December 20, 2019

A woman who was shot to death at her home in Brooklyn on December 19 appears to have been a transgender woman, according to records, police accounts, social media posts, and news reports emerging in the hours since she was killed.

Police said they arrived at 178 Rockaway Parkway in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn at 4:20 p.m. and found a 33-year-old woman with gunshot wounds to the chest. Medics pronounced her dead at the scene. Meanwhile, cops said they found a 39-year-old man outside the back of the building who had suffered leg injuries after he likely jumped from the building. Authorities took him into custody and questioned him but did not make any arrests.

Police would not confirm whether or not the woman they found was transgender, though they did not dispute that, and officers said in an email on December 19 that they were still trying to notify the victim’s family. Neighbors told News 12 Brooklyn that the victim was transgender.

Shortly after the police report emerged, a handful of social media posts surfaced on both Instagram and Facebook in which individuals stated that Yahira Nesby, a black trans woman who lived in Brooklyn, had died. In yet another sign that Nesby was the victim, online records show that her address was 178 Rockaway Parkway — the same place where cops discovered the body. Calls to phone numbers associated with Nesby at that address were not answered.

“Black transwoman murdered in Brooklyn last evening, R.I.P yahira nesby aka yaya,” Instagram user @ttimenetwork wrote in a post early in the morning on December 20.

On Facebook, Icon Devine wrote, “Damn not another 1… sis Yahira Nesby I love u,” while another person, Chloe Kalis, wrote, “Life is so unfair… I can not believe this neicey! Free from this hectic world and any pain that you may have endured here on earth. A beautiful spirit, a beautiful woman Yahira Nesby.”

Darrielle Anderson also posted, writing, “I’m so tired of writing R.I.P! You will truly be missed auntie. Yahira Nesby.”

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Brianna Hill, A Black Transgender Woman, Found Shot To Death In Kansas City – Breaking News

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False Idol — Why the Christian Right Worships Donald Trump

From Rolling Stone:

December 2, 2019

On  the morning of September 29th, six weeks before the 2016 election, Donald Trump was in a conference room at Trump Tower in New York talking to leaders of the religious right about sex-reassignment surgery. In a way, he was bringing about his own transformation. Having quashed the idea that his run for president was a lark or a publicity stunt, having come from behind to take the Republican nomination, and having fought his way up the polls to the extent that he was within striking distance of Hillary Clinton, Trump was now trying to seal the deal. And that involved something he would soon become much more known for: a discussion of other people’s genitalia.

“With the operation or without the operation?” Trump asked the conservative Christian leaders gathered specifically to ascertain whether to grant him their support. In other words, would HB2 — North Carolina’s so-called bathroom bill — apply to transgender people who had not undergone surgery to alter their sex?

“Without the operation,” Christian radio talk-show host Frank Turek confirmed, according to a tape of the meeting exclusively obtained by Rolling Stone. “If you’re a man but you feel like a woman that day, if you’re Shania Twain, you can go into a woman’s bathroom, and no one can say a word about it.”

Trump seemed to ponder this deeply. For much of his political run, the thrice-married, swindling, profane, materialistic, self-styled playboy had appealed mainly to the more fringe elements of Christianity, a ragtag group of prosperity gospelers (like his “spiritual adviser” Paula White, a televangelist who promises her donors their own personal angel), Christian dominionists (who believe that America’s laws should be founded explicitly on biblical ones — including stoning homosexuals), and charismatic or Pentecostal outliers (like Frank Amedia, the Trump campaign’s “liaison for Christian policy,” who once claimed to have raised an ant from the dead). Considering their extreme views, these folks had an alarming number of followers, but certainly nothing of voting-bloc magnitude.

And without the evangelical voting bloc, no Republican candidate could hope to have a path to the presidency. Evangelicals — a term that today refers to people who believe that Jesus died for their sins, that the Bible is the word of God, that every believer has a “born again” or salvation moment, and that the good news of Jesus should be widely disseminated — make up as much as a quarter of the country, or close to 80 million people. Around 60 percent vote, more than any other demographic, and among white evangelical voters, more than three-quarters tend to go to Republicans, thanks to wedge issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, and transgender rights.

Trump was exactly the type of character you would expect “values voters” to summarily reject — even before the famed “grab ’em by the pussy” tape, the optics weren’t great. He never gained a majority of Christian votes in the primary. Even after he secured the nomination and named Mike Pence to be his VP, a survey of Protestant pastors conducted by Christian polling group LifeWay Research that summer found that only 39 percent of evangelical pastors planned to vote for him.

The meeting on September 29th, 2016, was one of the ways he tried to move the needle, to convince the religious right that their vision for America was one he shared. Robert Jeffress, the head of 14,000-member megachurch First Baptist Dallas, a contributor to Fox News, and one of the earliest evangelical leaders to support Trump, presided over the meeting. “I usually stand when he comes in the room as a way of showing respect — he doesn’t ask that, but that’s just something that I’ve normally done,” Jeffress explained to the assembled, who included Wayne Grudem, a well-known theologian and co-founder of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood; Eric Metaxas, a bestselling Christian author and radio host; Ryan Anderson, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation; Jay Richards, a philosopher and senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, a conservative think tank that campaigns against teaching evolution in school; and Ivanka Trump, who popped in momentarily to say hello.

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The Conservative War on Transgender Rights Has Reached a New Low

From Mother Jones:

They’re going after kids.

December 4, 2019

Rachel Gonzales has spent the last two years battling Texas lawmakers to protect her kid. She first stepped foot in the statehouse in 2017, to testify against a bill that would bar her 7-year-old, transgender daughter from using the girl’s bathroom. Next came an effort to stop a bill to prohibit family courts from using a parent’s affirmation (or lack thereof) of a child’s transgender identity as a consideration in custody hearings.

Both bills eventually died, but Gonzales is now gearing up for yet another fight. This fall, two Republican lawmakers in the state vowed to introduce legislation barring trans kids from receiving certain gender-affirming health care and criminalizing parents who allow their children to transition.

And Texas isn’t the only place where conservatives are trying to make it harder for trans kids to live in accordance with their gender identity. In November, a Republican representative in South Carolina introduced legislation that would prohibit “gender reassignment medical treatment” for people under the age of 18. Doctors who provide such care would be professionally sanctioned and could potentially lose their medical license. A bill that is being drafted in Georgia would make it a felony for medical professionals to aid in a minor’s gender transition. A lawmaker in Kentucky said in a public Facebook post that she is also at work on a similar bill.

“I really wish that our politicians would stop using young children for their political gain,” Gonzales says. “It’s so frightening to have the people that are supposed to be protecting all kids across the state to be instead picking and choosing who they want to protect and targeting the ones that they don’t.”

All of the bills were spurred by the sensationalized story of a Texas custody battle between two parents with vastly different views on gender identity. The case involved a 7-year-old kid who, according to reports, had been identifying as a transgender girl for years. Her father claimed the feminine gender identity was being forced on the child by her mother, and refused to help cover the costs of therapy or any gender-affirming care. Earlier this year, he made pleas at the state capitol and on several social media pages, claiming his child was being used as a pawn in some socially progressive scheme to revoke his parental rights.

The Daily Caller first picked up the story about the custody fight from a local news website run by a former Republican state senator. Then Fox News and conservative pundits like Matt Walsh joined in the fray. Some warned of “chemical castration,” even though the actual custody dispute revolved around social transitioning—affirming the person’s gender identity by using their chosen name and pronouns—which involves no medical interventions. They published video and photos of the child, supposedly proving their point. Soon, the story had been picked up by Donald Trump Jr.

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Donald Trump is attacking both Jews and the left with one clean blow

From The Guardian UK:

Anti-Semitism and anti-leftism share a violent and intimate history that is being revived under Donald Trump

Thu 12 Dec 2019

On Thursday, Donald Trump signed an executive order that defines Judaism as a nationality. In the process, he also effectively defined some 7.5 million American Jews as dual nationals, with dual loyalties. This is an anti-semitic trope with a long, ugly history. It was precisely that kind of logic which helped unleash the murderous pogroms that my great grandfather fled in Eastern Europe.

Ostensibly, Trump’s order was a ploy to crack down on the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement on college campuses. It will enable the Department of Education to ban the protest movement–a solidarity call from Palestinian civil society to bring an help end the Israeli occupation there–as legally discriminatory under civil rights law, ironically. It’s a throwback of the worst kind to have an attack on Jews and one on the left so clearly intertwined.

When my great grandfather arrived in the United States, he moved around a bit before eventually opening a shoe store and settling into a comfortable middle class life in a relatively sleepy stretch of Southern New Jersey. But many others who left Europe for the US during the same period landed and made their lives in cities like New York, where Yiddish-language papers like the Forvarts became organs of working class life. Socialist Jewish labor organizers in unions like the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union led strikes and changed laws, improving living standards for people around the country subject to low wages and long hours, and helping define the relationship between capital and labor in America more broadly. In the US and abroad, this kind of activism was a threat to big business, which joined forces with virulent strains of right-wing nationalism to define Jewish life as inherently foreign, and inherently dangerous.

Anti-Semitism and anti-communism – and anti-leftism more broadly – share a violent and intimate history that stretches from Nazi Germany to the House Un-American Activities Committee to the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Charges of Judeo-Bolshevism have been a premise for limiting the scope of who deserves basic rights and citizenship. Like racism and sexism, anti-Semitism has oozed through history and as such is hardly limited to one side of the political spectrum. But despite their bad-faith accusations of anti-Semitism against left-wing politicians on both sides of the Atlantic, today’s increasingly radical right is reviving this nasty trend more plainly than in decades, and making life more dangerous for Jews from Pittsburgh to Germany.

While they might carry a soft spot for Benjamin Netanyahu, strongmen in the model of Trump, Viktor Orbán, Jair Bolsonaro will never be friends to the Jews. Attempts to close off countries to immigrants and anyone else not included in these politicians’ tribal concepts of nationhood have historically worked out poorly for Jews, which is why Jewish organizers have in the US and elsewhere joined in solidarity with struggles for civil rights and more humane immigration policies. As the climate crisis threatens to displace millions in the coming decades, fighting off xenophobic right-wing populists and their attacks on the left has never been more important.

With the political center collapsing and temperatures quite literally rising, politics throughout much of the world are beginning to look something like they did about a century ago, when Rosa Luxemburg recalled a line from Friedrich Engels: “Bourgeois society stands at the crossroads, either transition to socialism or regression into barbarism.”

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HRC Mourns Nikki Kuhnhausen, 17-Year-Old Trans Girl Murdered in Washington

From HRC:

By Elliott Kozuch
December 18, 2019

HRC is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Nikki Kuhnhausen, a transgender girl who was killed in Vancouver, Washington. Kuhnhausen was 17 when she was last seen in June and her body was only found this month. David Bogdanov has been arrested and charged with her murder. Kuhnhausen’s cause of death is unknown at this time.

Kuhnhausen’s death is at least the 24th known transgender or gender non-conforming person killed this year. She enjoyed sharing videos of her dancing and singing on her Facebook, and she often posted memes to entertain her friends.

Her loved ones have taken to social media to mourn her passing. “[Y]ou my dear didn’t deserve this … rest with God now,” someone shared. Others have called her “gorgeous” and “a beautiful soul.”

In November, ahead of Transgender Day of Remembrance, HRC Foundation released “A National Epidemic: Fatal Anti-Transgender Violence in America in 2019,” a heartbreaking report honoring the trans people killed and detailing the contributing and motivating factors that lead to this tragic violence.

These victims are not just numbers or headlines. They were real people worthy of dignity and respect, of life and love.

There are currently very few explicit legal protections for transgender or gender-expansive people. While transgender people in Washington are explicitly protected across many aspects of daily life, including housing and employment, and are covered under the state’s hate crimes legislation — the state does not have a law that prohibits bias rage or so-called “panic” defenses for criminal acts. Furthermore, Vancouver does not have an LGBTQ liaison in the city government or police department, according to the 2019 Municipal Equality Index.

Despite marginal gains in state and local policies that support and affirm transgender people, recent years have been marked by anti-LGBTQ attacks at all levels of government. We must demand better from our elected officials and reject harmful anti-transgender legislation appearing at the local, state and federal levels because it is clear that fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of color. The intersections of racism, transphobia, sexism, biphobia and homophobia conspire to deprive them of necessities to live and thrive.

HRC will continue to hold the Trump-Pence administration and all elected officials who fuel the flames of hate accountable at the ballot box.

This epidemic of violence that disproportionately targets transgender people of color — particularly Black transgender women — must cease.

For more information about HRC’s transgender justice work, visit

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Cracking the code of bias against transgender athletes

From Out Sports:

A peek at the transphobe’s playbook.

By Karleigh Webb
Dec 3, 2019

Transgender participation in sport has come to the forefront in the last few years at all levels, from youth leagues to the Olympics. And that’s led to backlash from many groups and individuals who are supported by and stand up for those who have always maintained an anti-LGBTQ position.

On November 20, Outsports contributor Ken Schultz looked into what’s behind a recent poll by Rasmussen, which concluded a majority of Americans oppose transgender inclusion in sports.

What he found were polling methods and loaded questions with terms that slant toward creating results opposing trans inclusion.

In his analysis, Schultz stated: “In order to move the debate in that more inclusive direction, we need to educate the public on these kinds of biased euphemisms and anti-trans code words that transphobes use to sway public opinion.”

As a sports journalist, a sports fan and as a participating transgender athlete, I couldn’t agree more with my Outsports colleague. When you look in the transphobe’s playbook, you find a number of varied tactics designed to make bigotry look reasonable.

My examination here will look at a recent piece of propaganda making the rounds and the tactics it employs. The poster below was created by an operative for an anti-trans organization.


1. Immediately sell the point that trans women are not women.

Willful, deliberate misgendering is a critical piece of this con game. The quote used at the top of this image is an example of the conditioning. It’s also the tactic of websites such as Breitbart, The Blaze and RedState, who ruthlessly target transgender female athletes. Consider the example of cyclist Dr. Veronica McKinnon, who is one of the most targeted trans athletes in the world right now, ever since winning her first UCI Masters track cycling championship in 2018. She had barely reached the winner’s podium when the “clickbaiter” sites screamed headlines such as “Man Pedals Faster at the Women’s World Cycling Championships”, and “Transgender female cyclist place first against biological women”

The body copy of their articles stays with this theme. There is consistent use of terms such as “biological males” and “biological females”, which is passive-aggressive misgendering. Some sites don’t even bother with such backhanded attempts, and neither do the professional political transphobe groups. In the Alliance Defending Freedom’s complaint to the Department of Education concerning Connecticut high school athletes Andraya Yearwood and Terry Miller, the 29-page document consistently refers to both girls as “boys” and “biological males”.

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Punk pocha pioneer Alice Bag presents: ‘No Xmas gifts for Nazis’

Remember Nazis love coal so give them lumps of coal

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Fort Worth trans inmate sues Texas over law that prevents her from changing legal name

From The Fort Worth Star Telegram:

By Kaley Johnson and Tessa Weinberg
December 06, 2019

Fort Worth

Three transgender inmates, including one from Carswell Prison in Fort Worth, are arguing that a Texas law that prohibits them from legally changing their names is unconstitutional.

The women are suing Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton in a lawsuit filed in the Austin division of district court Wednesday. They, and their attorneys, argue the inability to legally change their names to reflect their gender is cruel and unusual punishment.

Abbott and Paxton’s offices did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday night.

Texas Family Code 45.103 prohibits a person with a felony conviction from changing their name within two years of serving their sentence. Those in the lawsuit want the state to declare the provision unconstitutional and allow the women — Donna Langan at FMC Carswell, Teresa De Barbarac at FCI Texarkana and Alexandra Carson, who was recently released from prison — to change their names to reflect their gender.

Attorney Brian McGiverin said denying trans people the right to change their name increases their risk of suicide or being the assault victims, and makes everything from employment to housing more difficult. Forcing trans inmates to be more vulnerable to these risks violates the Eighth Amendment, McGiverin said.

Emmett Schelling, the executive director of the Transgender Education Network of Texas, known as TENT, said that barring transgender inmates from changing their names until two years after leaving prison or completing parole is enforcing “one of the most cruel punishments that you can give to a trans person,” after they’ve already served their sentence.

“I’ve already got a big strike against me because I have to reveal my criminal background,” Schelling said of transgender people who are former inmates seeking employment. “And so then on top of it, you’re basically forcing people to be in a situation where they’re showing an ID that doesn’t match who they are.”

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Trump’s Rollback of Transgender Rights Extends Through Entire Government

From The New York Times:

Whether it means serving in the military, working for a federal contractor or seeking medical help, regulations that once protected transgender people are under attack.

By Lola Fadulu
Dec. 6, 2019

WASHINGTON — Nicolas Talbott, a graduate student at Kent State University in Ohio who is transgender, was told in May that because of President Trump’s transgender ban in the military, he would no longer be eligible for placement as an Army officer. He could continue participating in the Reserve Officers Training Corps program, but the benefits that he joined for — health insurance and student loan forgiveness — were no longer available to him.

“Everyone else would walk away with a job in the United States Army, and I would walk away with just more student loan debt,” Mr. Talbott said.

Mr. Talbott’s experience is just one version of a broader story unfolding across vast portions of the federal government as the Trump administration has rolled back a wide array of protections for transgender people, many of them put in place during the Obama administration. The Obama White House used its powers to declare that legal and legislative efforts to defend against sex discrimination should apply to gender identity. The Trump White House called that executive overreach — and reversed course wherever it could.

Across the country, transgender people and groups that are advocates for them have wrestled with the effect of that shift as they have learned of policy changes from the departments of Education and Labor to the departments of Health and Human Services and Housing and Urban Development, from the Pentagon to the Justice Department to the Office of Personnel Management.

Last month, a United States district judge struck down a Health and Human Services Department rule that would, among other changes, expand the protections for health care workers who refuse to treat transgender patients if it clashed with their beliefs, the third judge to do so.

But so many similar regulations are in place or pending that advocates for transgender rights are hardly relieved.

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Annette Bening says she is ‘proud’ of her transgender son

From The Washington Blade:

by John Paul King
November 29, 2019

Hollywood icon Annette Bening has spoken up about her feelings toward her transgender son.

Bening, who is known for keeping quiet about her personal life, opened up in an interview for AARP, when she brought up a book recently given to her by her son, Stephen Ira. In the novel, “Little Fish” by Casey Plett, a young transgender woman finds out, to her surprise, that her Mennonite grandfather might also have been trans.

The four-time Academy Award nominee then went on to add:

“He’s managed something that’s very challenging with great style and great intelligence. He’s an articulate, thoughtful person, and I’m very, very proud of him.”

Ira, 27, is the firstborn child of Bening, who can currently be seen starring as Senator Dianne Feinstein in “The Report,” and fellow A-lister husband Warren Beatty. Assigned female at birth and given the name Kathlyn Elizabeth, he came out as trans and began transitioning at 14.

Beatty has previously expressed his own support for his son, telling Vanity Fair in 2016, “He’s a revolutionary, a genius, and my hero, as are all my children.”

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I fought ageing hard before deciding to go grey. It was the start of a brilliant new midlife

From The Guardian UK:

Casting off society’s expectations to grow old gracefully felt subversive. Ever since, I have grown bolder in body and mind

Louise Pendry
Mon 25 Nov 2019

In my early 40s, it hit me that I was ageing. At first, the physical signs really bothered me. Solving the grey-hair part was easy: I embraced hair dye, rejoicing that I could cheat the grey grim reaper for ever. Next came the wrinkles and saggy bits on my body. I fought them with an array of costly, time-consuming and mostly ineffectual rituals. Seduced by a barrage of ads playing on my fears of growing older, I diligently bought and applied a cupboard full of allegedly age-defying serums and moisturisers to my face and body. But it began to take so much effort, especially the hair. Those darned roots required a fortnightly touchup. I planned my life around the emergence of that badger stripe.

One day in my late 40s, I had an epiphany. What if I just … went grey? It really shouldn’t be a big deal, but for many women it is. No silver-fox badge of honour awaits us: we are likely to be pilloried for “letting ourselves go”. I feared not only being grey, but going grey; facing not so much a bad hair day as a bad hair year. Grey hair would unequivocally position me as old, heralding to everyone that my inevitable downward slide towards invisibility, senility and death had begun. Nonetheless, I decided to try it.

I can’t pretend that I enjoyed the process to start with. My burgeoning roots looked unkempt and it took for ever for the grey to grow out, offering a life lesson in humility and patience. Going grey led me to question the narrative I had mindlessly absorbed over the years: stay young at any cost.

Then, a few months into my great grey grow-out, something unexpected happened. I realised I was starting to enjoy the process. It felt subversive to deviate from the societal diktat that says women must not visibly age. And, as I became more comfortable with my grey hair, I scrutinised the rest of my outlook more closely. Whether or not I now looked older, I realised that I cared less. Casting off society’s expectations was curiously liberating.

Psychological research is clear: a positive outlook towards ageing is mentally and physically healthy. What’s more, there is mounting evidence (explored in books such as Bolder by Carl Honoré) that there are many upsides to growing older. Of course, there are some downsides, but the received wisdom that inevitable decline is to be expected as you age is vastly overstated. As a psychology lecturer and avid consumer of such literature, I knew this in theory, but had still succumbed to the whole anti-ageing narrative. Enough! I was ready for a midlife reboot.

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‘Jew Coup’: The Founder of a White House-Accredited Media Outlet’s Shocking Antisemitic Rant

From The Algemeiner:

by Ben Cohen
November 27, 2019

The host of a far-right Christian talk show whose outlet has frequently received White House press credentials from US President Donald Trump’s administration has posted a viciously antisemitic rant about the current presidential impeachment battle in the US Congress.

Pastor Rick Wiles let rip against what he called a “Jew coup” on his talk show last Monday on the extremist TruNews website that he founded.

Addressing the impeachment proceedings currently underway against Trump, Wiles raved: “That’s the way the Jews work, they are deceivers, they plot, they lie, they do whatever they have to do to accomplish their political agenda.”

The Democratic Party’s bid to impeach Trump was in fact “a Jew coup and the American people better wake up to it really fast because this thing is moving now toward a vote in the House and then a trial in the Senate,” the pastor insisted.

Comparing the current political divide in the US to the Civil War in the 1860s, Wiles said Americans would be asked, “Are you fighting for the North or the South?”

“People are going to be forced, possibly by this Christmas, to take a stand because of this Jew coup in the United States,” he continued. “There will be a purge. That’s the next thing that happens when Jews take over a country, they kill millions of Christians.”

Antisemitic, racist and anti-LGBTQ content is a staple of the TruNews site, which was founded by Wiles. Lurid headlines and teasers on the website’s home page on Wednesday included, “Kosher Cash: How Kushner and Evangelical Zionists Profit From West Bank Proclamation” and “Human Life on Trial: American Abortion and Modern Child Sacrifice.”

Despite this record, TruNews continues to receive press accreditation from the White House and invitations to official events.

In Sept. 2018, a TruNews reporter named Edward Szall was even called on by Trump to ask a question at a White House press briefing. Szall duly asked Trump about his forthcoming “great peace deal” between Israel and the Palestinians, to which the president responded: “I’ve always heard the deal between, as you know, Israeli and the Palestinians, that’s like the toughest deal. Every possible thing is tough about that. I think we’re gonna make a deal.” Trump then repeated: “I think we’re gonna make a deal.”

According to Doc Burkhart, Wiles’ co-host on TruNews, the outlet enjoys “a very good relationship with the White House press office.”

Speaking on the channel on Sept. 5, Burkhart said that the attitude of the White House toward the far-right media outlet had “always been very cordial and very kind.”

“We’ve never been pushed away out of anything,” Burkhart said.

Added Wiles, who was sitting alongside: “We turn down more White House invitations; we don’t go to all of them because we just don’t have the funding and the manpower to go to every single event that the White House invites us to. We are very appreciative that the White House invites us to these things.”

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Friday Night Fun and Culture: Grace Petrie


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Inconvenient Murders

From The New York Times:

The global surge in Jew-hatred barely registers in the West.

By Bari Weiss
Dec. 5, 2019

Two years ago, a 27-year-old man named Kobili Traoré walked into the Paris apartment of a 65-year-old kindergarten teacher named Sarah Halimi. Mr. Traoré beat Ms. Halimi and stabbed her. According to witnesses, he called her a demon and a dirty Jew. He shouted, “Allahu akbar,” then threw Ms. Halimi’s battered body out of her third-story apartment window.

This is what Mr. Traoré told prosecutors: “I felt persecuted. When I saw the Torah and a chandelier in her home I felt oppressed. I saw her face transforming.”

One would think that this would be an open-and-shut hate crime. It was the coldblooded murder of a woman in her own home for the sin of being a Jew. But French prosecutors decided to drop murder charges against Mr. Traoré because he … had smoked cannabis.

If France’s betrayal of Sarah Halimi is shocking to you, perhaps you haven’t being paying much attention to what by now can be described as a moral calamity sweeping the West of which her story is only the clearest example. A crisis, I hasten to add, that’s perhaps less known because it has been largely overlooked by the mainstream press.

The most generous read of this enormous blind spot is that the story is not always straightforward; there have been some laudable steps to fight back. On Tuesday, for example, the French Parliament formally adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism when it passed a motion declaring anti-Zionism a form of Jew-hatred. Yet on the same day, more than 100 Jewish gravestones were found spray-painted with swastikas in a cemetery near Strasbourg — a potent reminder that governments are only as good as the culture and the people upholding them.

So allow me to put it plainly: We are suffering from a widespread social health epidemic and it is rooted in the cheapening of Jewish blood. If hatred of Jews can be justified as a misunderstanding or ignored as a mistake or played down as a slip of the tongue or waved away as “just anti-Zionism,” you can all but guarantee it will be.

Yet beneath the finger-pointing and the victim-blaming and the accusations of panic lobbed against a people that know a little something about persecution, there is the same old bigotry — the hatred of Jews that has presaged the death of so many seemingly civilized societies. A hatred that still, after centuries, exerts its powerful allure during periods of political and economic unrest, when the angry, the confused, the shortchanged and the scared look for simple explanations and a scapegoat. And even those who seek to uplift the marginalized can’t seem to find their voice when it comes to Jews facing anti-Semitism.

Take a look at some of the events around the Thanksgiving holiday, incidents that have kept Jews all over the world glued to their phones, and which have driven some to update their and their children’s passports.

Continue reading at:

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Brenda Lana Smith (1934-2019)

I only met Brenda through the Internet and yet she was a friend.  When we grow old our annual list of remembrance is composed of friends we lost over the last year.

From The Royal Gazette:

Jonathan Bell
Nov 16, 2019

A transsexual Bermudian human rights activist who said she had been driven from the island by discrimination has died in Britain, where she spent the last years of her life.

Brenda Smith died, aged 85, last month.

Ms Smith campaigned for Bermuda’s human rights legislation to include gender identity as well as sexual orientation and took her case to the House of Commons in Britain in 2008.

She made a submission on human rights in Bermuda and said she was “an abused septuagenarian male-to-female 23-years post-operative transsexual Bermudian”.

In the submission, which is available online, Ms Smith said she spoke out to “respectfully to draw to the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee’s attention the lack of human rights legislation to protect transsexual persons in Bermuda”.

She also called for LGBTQ people internationally to put pressure on Bermuda and threaten to boycott the island.

The Bermuda Government approved amendments to the Human Rights Act to prevent discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in 2013.

But for Ms Smith, the move did not go far enough.

She criticised the Government in an interview with The Royal Gazette for its failure to include gender identity in the legislation.

Fellow human rights activist Mark Anderson, a gay rights campaigner and entertainer whose alter ego is Sybil Barrington, Queen of Bermuda, said Ms Smith was a “trailblazer within the gay community”.

Mr Anderson added: “The light has gone dim with the news of her passing.”

He said Ms Smith had contacted him in 2006, when the Government banned him from taking part in the Bermuda Day Parade as Sybil, to give her support to his cause.

Mr Anderson added: “She was one of Bermuda’s first transsexuals, who had to leave Bermuda because of the abuse. She was instrumental in fighting for recognition for transsexuals as a group.”

He said he had visited Ms Smith at her home in Bodmin, Cornwall, in April and that Ms Smith commended him for his activism.

Mr Anderson added: “In her day, she didn’t have the support that we have today.

“She told me there were Bermudians who actually took their own lives in her day because there was no outlet — these differences were something you couldn’t talk about.”

Ms Smith’s Facebook page said Lana, Ms Smith’s middle name, was an anagram for her birth first name of Alan.

Ms Smith’s background was part Danish and she was appointed the Honorary Consul for Denmark when she lived on the island.

But she spent much of her life overseas, at first in the United States, and settled in Britain in 1989.

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