Did slaves catch your seafood?

From Salon:   http://www.salon.com/2012/05/21/did_slaves_catch_your_seafood/singleton/

Thailand, a major source of fish imported to the US, depends on forced labor for its product

By , GlobalPost
Monday, May 21, 2012

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

PREY VENG, Cambodia, and SAMUT SAKHON, Thailand — In the sun-baked flatlands of Cambodia, where dust stings the eyes and chokes the pores, there is a tiny clapboard house on cement stilts. It is home to three generations of runaway slaves.

The man of the house, Sokha, recently returned after nearly two years in captivity. His home is just as he left it: barren with a few dirty pillows passing for furniture. Slivers of daylight glow through cracks in the walls. The family’s most valuable possession, a sow, waddles and snorts beneath the elevated floorboards.

Before his December escape, Sokha (a pseudonym) was the property of a deep-sea trawler captain. The 39-year-old Cambodian, his teenage son and two young nephews were purchased for roughly $650, he said, each through brokers promising under-the-table jobs in a fish cannery.

There was no cannery. They were instead smuggled to a pier in neighboring Thailand, where they were shoved aboard a wooden vessel that motored into a lawless sea. His uncle had fallen for the same scam five years prior and escaped to warn the others. But Sokha told his son, then just 16, that this venture would turn out differently. He was wrong.

“We worked constantly, for no pay, through seasickness and vomiting, sometimes for two or three days straight,” he said. “We obeyed the captain’s every word.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2012/05/21/did_slaves_catch_your_seafood/singleton/

Posted in Abuse, Class War, Fascism, Globalization, Hard Times, Human Rights, Nazism, Slavery, Workers. Comments Off on Did slaves catch your seafood?

Apparently, Beating Your Child Now Is All The Rage

From The New Civil rights Movement:    http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/apparently-beating-your-child-now-is-all-the-rage/discrimination/2011/12/14/31826

by David Badash
December 14, 2011

While I didn’t have a glorious and candy-​coated childhood, I did have it pretty good. And I’ll confess to being pretty lucky — lucky enough to have two parents who never beat me. Beating your child is morally wrong, but sadly, corporal punishment — “the deliberate infliction of pain as retribution for an offence, or for the purpose of disciplining or reforming a wrongdoer, or to deter attitudes or behaviour deemed unacceptable” — is apparently legal in America, at least when done by a parent in their home.

(Note: We’re not legal experts, and are not delivering legal advice. All the more reason to never beat your children. If it’s not illegal, it should be.)

Despite that, a 2006 American Psylogical Association study found “adolescents who were more likely to engage in fighting, bullying, and victimization of others reported that their parents engaged in corporal punishment as a disciplining method.”

In other words, parents who are beating their children are raising children who are more likely to be violent. Good job, parents!

And let’s be honest, spanking is beating. And it’s unacceptable.

That said, regular readers of The New Civil Rights Movement remember all too well Evangelical Christian pastor Michael Pearl and his wife Debi.

Continue reading at:  http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/apparently-beating-your-child-now-is-all-the-rage/discrimination/2011/12/14/31826

Posted in Abuse, Christo-Fascism, Civil Rights, Human Rights. Tags: . Comments Off on Apparently, Beating Your Child Now Is All The Rage

Why is Facebook Protecting Pro Rape Language and Abuse of Women?

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/sex/153406/why_is_facebook_protecting_pro_rape_language_and_abuse_of_women__/

Despite a campaign that included 180,000 signatures, Facebook continues to post pro-rape pages, showing, yet again, that they care about users so long as they’re profitable.

By Melissa Gira Grant
December 12, 2011

 Since August, tens of thousands of Internet activists have taken to social media to protest a social media giant — Facebook — for its apparent tolerance of user-created pages that make sexual violence into a punchline. The pages, with titles like “Riding your Girlfriend softly, Cause you dont [sic] want to wake her up” and “Kicking Sluts in the Vagina,” have been common to Facebook for some time, but campaigns against them began when a Facebook representative commented to the BBC on its decision not to remove that kind of content, stating, “Just as telling a rude joke won’t get you thrown out of your local pub, it won’t get you thrown off Facebook.” The pub analogy comment circulated among feminist activists on Facebook, and it was quoted widely on blogs, sparking a series of petitions that circulated for months, demanding the removal of the pages. When Facebook failed to respond, online activists organized a Twitter hashtag Day of Action, #notfunnyfacebook, to further pressure Facebook to enforce its own terms of service and hold its users accountable. Finally, following the Twitter action, Facebook elected to delete a few of the pages. It also allowed others to remain, so long as they were retitled as parodies.

The victory came as a half-hearted one for activists, who, with more than 180,000 signatures and hundreds of Twitter participants on their side, had not been able to call Facebook to account. New pro-rape pages are still being posted. One I just visited is called “That one slut you have always wanted to kick in the face.” After scrolling past three nearly identical wall announcements explaining how I could make easy money at home today (not involving, as I had first assumed, being “slutty”), I found a handful of nasty comments, all so poorly spelled it would be difficult for them to retain any air of menace. Then I recalled the anonymous person who scrawled “FAGETS” on the wall of a student organization I worked with in college. Then I saw what the page was really used for: with the “tag a user in this post” function, fans of the page could add the name of their intended target to their wall post, and that target would potentially see the post and the threat. It made me queasy.

If it was not clear before, we must understand now that Facebook wasn’t built for us — it was built for the profit of the very few. That Facebook is of value to the public as a communications platform is only important to Facebook insofar as it allows them to sell targeted advertising against our own speech. Its governing document, the Terms of Service, has been repeatedly applied unfairly and without accountability to its users, as its purpose is to legally protect Facebook from our conduct, not provide us with a free space, or even a safe space. Facebook needs to be only as minimally welcoming to us so as to ensure our return to use it again. And that we might use Facebook as a public square for activism? Not even in the business model.

Continue reading at:   http://www.alternet.org/sex/153406/why_is_facebook_protecting_pro_rape_language_and_abuse_of_women__/

Posted in Abuse, Equal Treatment, Feminist, Hate Crimes, Hate Speech, Misogyny, Murders, Rape. Tags: , . Comments Off on Why is Facebook Protecting Pro Rape Language and Abuse of Women?

Transgender patients outed by the health-care system

From The Montreal Gazette:   http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Transgender+patients+outed+health+care+system/5854368/story.html

‘I will die of pneumonia before being called Mr. once more in the emergency room’

By Max Harrold, THE GAZETTE
December 13, 2011

MONTREAL – For most sick people in a doctor’s waiting room, a walk-in clinic or the hospital emergency, the etiquette of the receptionist, nurse and doctor is not likely the top priority. Getting better is.

But for people in the years-long process of transitioning genders, the name called out and the pronouns used can be the difference between medical treatment and psychological torture.

Many Quebec health-care workers routinely out transsexuals by arguing in public about their name and sex as indicated on the medicare card, advocates for trans people say.

Transphobia – prejudice and hostility toward people who don’t fit standard gender images – is widespread, they add.

Gabrielle Bouchard, a coordinator at the 2110 Centre for Gender Advocacy in Montreal, said it’s exhausting to repeatedly argue about gender and one’s name regarding a mortgage or when applying for a job – but it can be especially hurtful while trying to obtain publicly funded medical services.

A trans person may not look much like the photo on their ID.

“I hear this story over and over – people saying, ‘I will die of pneumonia before being called Mr. once more in the emergency room’ or ‘I will not go to get this blood test because I’m not sure I will be treated respectfully’ or ‘I’m not going to get medication at the pharmacy because the pharmacist will say out loud: Well your name is Mr.; why are you coming to pick these pills up?’

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Transgender+patients+outed+health+care+system/5854368/story.html

Posted in Abuse, Bullying, Discrimination, Transgender, Transphobia, Transsexual. Tags: , . Comments Off on Transgender patients outed by the health-care system

Bullies and the Bullied

Bullies are bullies because they reflect the patriarchal paradigm.

Bullies are considered tough.  Because being tough means being able to dish out pain, hurt and humiliation without feeling guilt.

Being able to take pain, hurt and humiliation without being destroyed by it is called celebrating one’s victimization. Even though surviving such abuse without committing suicide or killing one’s tormentor takes great strength.

Destroying the lives of others is rewarded while having one’s life destroyed by bullying is punished further by people who treat the victims of bullying as weak and cowardly, unworthy of decent opportunities in life.

Damages are rarely awarded to people whose childhoods were destroyed by bullies.  Or to children who were deprived of their right to an education and the right to experience school as a safe place in which to grow and learn.

Bullies bully because bullying is the path to success.  It is the path to alpha status whether in a wolf pack or in the corporate structure.

Refusal to join the bullies places one with the victims.  Joining the bullies gains multiple rewards.  That is the mentality of Tea Baggers and lynch mobs alike.

When I was 13, I played goalie on a junior hockey team (my father required me to play sports).  They gave me the position because I wasn’t a good skater or an aggressive player.  But I turned out to be a really good goalie, years of learning blocking of punches and flinching had paid off.

Because I was good at playing goalie the bullies gave me the opportunity to join them.  All I had to do was beat up a kid who was a sissy like me.  Physically it would have been easy, I was strong and toughened by the summers spent working on the farm.  But I couldn’t do it.  I hit this kid once and stopped.

The next day I went to the school’s office and told the Principal what had happened.  I was put on a different bus because I would have been severely beaten by the bullies.

I made what I saw as a moral choice.  My family raised me well.  You do not join the thugs and beat up the oppressed just as you do not cross union picket lines.

I think a lot of people like Eddie Long and all the queer haters who look and sound so queer themselves also faced that ethical dilemma at some point or other in their lives and decided that it was more rewarding to be part of the bullies than the bullied.

I was already branded a teen age drag queen by my parents when I made my choice as to which side I was on.  I went on to grow into a left wing radical who believes in human rights.  Even when I tried to join the mob and the bullies about 10 years ago it never felt right.

As adults bullies have many glorified titles.  CEO, CFO, General, Admiral…  They are the ones who feel no guilt about the inflicting of pain upon others.  Psychiatrists call that sociopathic  behavior.  Those who take pleasure in the inflicting of pain upon others are psychopaths.

But the reality is society rewards bullies.  Society celebrates the conquering hero no matter how egregious and monstrous the actions.

Just as society blames the rape victim, the beaten wife, the murdered transsexual or transgender woman.

The victim is always seen as making the bully act in a monstrous manner.  Society always offers up mitigating circumstances that the bully may have never thought of on his own.

The victim of bullying is told to suck it up, get over it.

I was a tough little transkid.  I retaliated.  Because bullies rarely act on their own and usually act as part of a mob, I would wait till one was alone and unaware and I would attack him without warning using what ever means were necessary to hurt him.

Oddly all those authority figures who never found a reason to punish the bullies always found a reason to punish me.  But if I had to suck it up and take being punished it was better to take it for fighting back than for being abused.  In the process bullies decided it was better to pick someone else to bully.

I never made the connection as a child but as I became a teenager, who listened to Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, I realized that if the bullied and intimidated got together, why there were more of us than there were of the bullies.

I also realized bullies do not stop being bullies when they grow up.  They just become sadistic sociopathic adults.  The sort who rape as an exercise of power.  The sort who join the military not to defend the country but so they can murder people who do not have the same military might.

Bullies grow up to abuse their wives and children.  Bullies don the robes of the KKK and the Republican Party.  Bullies seek out positions that reward their sick desires to abuse.  They join the police departments so that when the victimized, the raped and abused go to the police they are going to people more likely to side with the abuser than with the victim.

Suck it up.  It is your own fault.  If you would just not exist then the bullies wouldn’t be forced to treat you like the scum you are.

Look at what those who are bullied are called.

Sissy, nerd, freak, faggot, dyke, queer, whore, trannie, geek.  Words that hurt. Words that scar.

Words that say we should just kill ourselves because we are such misfits.

A year and a half ago when I started this blog I laid down the law to the “HBS/Classic Transsexual” that their name calling wouldn’t be permitted on this blog.  I had come to the conclusion that they were people who desperately wanted to join the non-trans bullies who abuse transsexual and transgender people, something I wanted no part of and that I would not permit in a space I controlled.  Now this set of people seem to devote an inordinate amount of energy to denouncing me.

I don’t care.

I know which side I am on and that is the side of the oppressed.

While bullies have whole armies of friends, lynch mobs who laugh and cheer them on as they bully and abuse too often the bullied and abused are forced to suffer alone.

I remember what it was like to feel I was the only one in the world.  I remember what it was like to feel that I was despised not only by the bullies but by institutions that either refused to intercede or who blamed me for provoking the abuse simply by being.

I knew I was different.  The nugget of truth that kept me going was thinking, “Yeah, I’m different. So What!”

But I was near suicide on more than one occasion as a child.  I thought how easy it would be to kill myself.  I dwelt upon the ways I could kill myself.  Sometimes the only thing that kept me alive was the will to deny the bullies the pleasure they would feel if I did kill myself.

I deliberately failed out of college after winning a New York State Regents Scholarship.  The reasons were complex and included desire to just not be there when the 1960s were happening and there were others like myself out there making a life.  But there was also a darker truth…  The 12 years of being bullied had so damaged my education and my ability to focus that I needed time to regain my sense of self worth.

In the last couple of years of high school I actually had a few friends.  We were hipper than the rest of the kids in school, listened to folk music and studied together.  I was no longer a complete misfit.

In college I became a radical and part of the SDS/ hippie crowd.

When I left school I was sustained by the radical left and hippie movements.

When I met other transsexual and transgender people I realized we had all been abused.  Drug and alcohol abuse was endemic to our crowd.  So was sex work.  Our lives had been shredded by that abuse.

It is okay for Dan Savage to say, “It gets better.”

It does but we need to tell the truth.  Admit that we were bullied and abused.  Admit that it destroyed our childhoods.  Demand redress from the educational system that failed us while it rewarded the bullies who often captained sports teams and won awards.

We need to create space for bullied kids to get together and expand that space to the kids who avoid supporting bullied kids out of fear that the bullies will turn on them.

We Need To Make It Better For Bullied People who are Adults

The pain of having been bullied does not stop once one becomes an adult.

As a feminist I listened to women tell of the pain of having been sexually abused and I was silent about my own pain.  I went home and poured a glass of wine and then another.  Other friends took pills or shot heroin.

We trivialized our scars because having been the victim of bullying was even more shameful than having been victimized by incest or childhood sexual abuse.

We have a hard time talking about it.  We go to AA or NA and keep silent about why we substance abuse.  We wind up in abusive relationships and wonder why.

We are haunted by depression and take Prozac or other drugs and still do not name the reason.

It took me all week to write this, a dozen attempts.  I asked myself if I should admit to having been one of the bullied.

The Day of Remembrance will soon be upon us.  We will remember, as well we should those transsexual and transgender people who were murdered but we should also remember those who died of over doses and organ failure from years of substance abuse for they too are victims of a violent crime.  Bullies with their torture and abuse are the ones who started so many on the path that finally takes their lives.

This year I celebrate my tenth year of sobriety.  I have someone I love who loves me and I have learned to speak out.  I tell her right away if I think her yelling at me is starting to be abusive.  I’m touchy and trigger easily but I am in recovery not only from drinking but from my childhood of being abused.

To make life better we have to have the space to name the secret scars that cause the pain we drink or drug to numb away.

I know I have focused this mainly on TS/TG folks but I include gays and lesbians as well as straight folks.  It just seems as though institutionalized misogyny means that assigned male at birth TS/TG kids get the worst along with feminine gay kids.

The freedom from bullies should be a basic human right and a matter of social justice.

Bullying is a part of misogyny, racism and classism.  It says that one group of people are superior to another group and that one group should be permitted to abuse another group.  That makes all bullying a form of hate crime.

Is Every Single Anti-LGBT/T Religious Figure Really a Closet Case?

Here’s a little hint.  Hating LGBT/T people doesn’t make you straight.

It is a reflection of self hate if you are LGBT/T and preach hatred of LGBT/T people

It will not cure you of being LGBT/T.  It will not erase the fact that you are LGBT/T.

If you are an obvious gay man like Eddie Long trying to pass as straight the fact you preached anti-LGBT/T bigotry only makes you look like a con artist when the fact you are as queer as a three dollar bill comes out.

The Catholic Church which is one of the all time biggest supporters of anti-LGBT/T bigotry and discrimination is filled with closet case homosexual men perverted by the institutionalized homophobia of the church into an arrested state of development.  An arrested state of development they might have out grown if the church didn’t tell them they should deny being gay, become a priest and pray it away while living a life of celibacy.

As an Atheist I am automatically non-religious.  I am anti-religion because I see the damage done by religion and how religion is a parasitical way of life with its constant demand of money from its followers.

When a gay minister (most priests and ministers are male) has the closet door ripped open and his scam revealed he stands there with his dick in his hand saying, “Who me?  I’m not gay.  I only did it once.  Are you going to believe me or your lying eyes.”  Then he retreats and prays away the gay, comes back and starts the con game all over while claiming to be cured a la Ted Haggard.

Posted in Abuse, Christo-Fascism, Gay, Hate Speech, Homophobia, Male Privilege, Pedophilia, Religion. Comments Off on Is Every Single Anti-LGBT/T Religious Figure Really a Closet Case?

Transphobia and mean streets

From The Milwaukee Wisconsin  Journal Sentinel: http://www.jsonline.com/news/opinion/102662829.html

Reposted with permission

By Michael Munson And Loree Cook-Daniels

Sept. 11, 2010

On May 7, 2010, Chanel (Dana) Larkin, 26, was fatally shot in the head by Andrew Olaciregui, 28, who had met her on a Milwaukee street and asked her to engage in a sexual act. Olaciregui pleaded guilty to second-degree reckless homicide in the case on Aug. 31, according to the state’s online court database. He is scheduled to be sentenced in October.

Although commercial sex work is a notoriously dangerous profession, it would be a mistake to dismiss this death so simply. For Larkin also belonged to another demographic group with an outrageously high early fatality rate: She was an African-American transgender woman.

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) is a coalition of 40 U.S. nonprofits that work with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) victims of violence and police misconduct. In its 2009 Hate Crimes report, NCAVP documented 22 murders caused by anti-LGBT prejudice. Of those 22, half were transgender women.

Of the remainder, most were biologically male but dressed femininely with an unknown gender identity but who were dressed femininely or were otherwise gender non-conforming when they were killed, therefore making it likely that the vast majority of murder victims were gender variant.

Furthermore, 79% of the victims were people of color. Larkin’s murder may have been relatively unusual for Milwaukee, but it fits an alarming national pattern, down to its timing: Milwaukee’s 2010 PrideFest was June 11 to 13, barely four weeks after Larkin’s death. Nationally, 55% of 2009’s documented anti-LGBT murders took place in a 14-week period that includes most cities’ LGBT Pride celebrations, when LGBT people are most visible.

Larkin’s commercial sex work was likely related to both her race and her gender identity. African-Americans still face rampant racism, economic discrimination and educational neglect. A 2001 national study found that Wisconsin had the country’s lowest African-American high school graduation rate, at 40%. A 2005 study showed that the top three reasons for verbal or physical harassment in schools are appearance, sexual orientation and gender identity. Obviously, young African-American gender variant students are clearly at high risk of bullying or worse in schools and consequently are highly likely to leave school without graduating.

Like many of her peers, Larkin did not have a GED. She also had been unable to afford to legally change her name and ID. Therefore, even though she clearly looked female, whenever she applied for job and was asked for identification, she would have had to explain why it said she was male and had a different first name.

Employment discrimination against transgender people – while technically illegal in many places, including Milwaukee – is rampant. A recent national study of 6,450 transgender people found that 97% had been harassed or mistreated at work, and 47% had been fired, not hired, or denied a promotion because they were known to be transgender.

African-American transgender people were twice as likely to be unemployed (26%) as were other participants in this pre-recession survey. Since it doesn’t require a GED or ID, commercial sex work makes sense to many young African-American transwomen. Unless or until a client learns you are transgender. Then you’re at high risk of joining the NCAVP and Transgender Day of Remembrance murder victims lists.

Here, too, widespread social attitudes play a role. Many transwomen are killed during or right after sexual acts or sexual negotiations, by someone they’ve just met. The man may think, “If I had sex with a woman who turns out to have a penis or was born male, am I gay?” Some people’s homophobia is so strong that they apparently prefer to become a murderer rather than be thought of as gay. And so they “reclaim their manhood” by killing the person who “deceived” them.

Racism. Homophobia. Transphobia. Discrimination. Legal, financial and medical barriers to changing your name, ID, and/or your body to match who you are in the world. All of these contribute to the loss of vibrant people like Larkin, people who are valued and much-loved and who are active members of their communities.

At her funeral, dozens spoke of Chanel’s love, Chanel’s smile, Chanel’s humor, Chanel’s care. She was a leader in Sisters Helping Each Other Battle AIDS (SHEBA), a program of Diverse and Resilient, where she had been active for years. She took care of friends and community members. And now she is gone.

We need to work to make sure no more Chanels are lost to a fatal mix of prejudices. We need to root out homophobia and transphobia and racism wherever they exist so that people can be educated and employed in peace. We need to educate employers, protect schoolchildren, help people earn their GEDs and make it simpler for people to get ID that matches who they are.

Most of all, we need to care about people like Larkin as much as she cared about others.

Michael Munson is the executive director and Loree Cook-Daniels is the policy and program director for FORGE, a national transgender organization headquartered in Milwaukee.

Posted in Abuse, Hate Crimes, Murders, Racism, Social Justice. Comments Off on Transphobia and mean streets