newton, ct school shooting. :’(
i have a lot of feelings about this. primarily about how tragic it is. it’s tragic every time humans endure this kind of pain and suffering. my heart goes out to the families of the victims, and the other children who survived this that will carry this scar forever. really, really painfully sad.
but i’m also a little bit sad about how this story—and other stories about [primarily white] u.s. children—is going viral, when the palestinian death toll in the israel-gaza conflict has reached 100, 24 of whom were children, and nobody is talking about that. or the 260 children still alive but wounded.
or how in november, on transgender day of rememberance, it was hard for me to get anyone to care about the murders of 265 transgender people (predominantly trans women of color) murdered worldwide in the last calendar year.
or how black and brown folks deal with shootings in their schools, neighborhoods, and communities in a way that’s so commonplace that it doesn’t even get news coverage. and how so much of that violence is perpetuated by the police. nah nobody talks about that, or mourns that.
i’ve been reading up on this school shooting some since about noontime. been chewing on this quote from alternet, unrelated to what i wrote above:
“This type of massacre has now happened over 30 times since Columbine in schools alone, not to mentin mall and now movie theater shootings. It’s an epidemic, and it’s caused by many things, but enabled by guns and gun culture. Until we do something about guns, gun violence will continue.”
the article also makes a point that we shouldn’t use others’ pain as an opportunity to take a political stance but yet gun-related crimes are happening so frequently that there’s almost never a time to speak about gun violence that *isnt* in the wake of some tragic shooting. interesting to consider. i have a lot of mixed feelings about guns and gun laws. in my heart i’m anti-guns, but i also believe in the right of oppressed peoples to defend themselves by any means necessary. where’s the line.
(also unrelated) one thing on my mind reading about this shooting is how the families and friends affected by columbine and the other 30 shootings since are being triggered by hearing of this event today. hopefully they can all reach out in solidarity and support instead of closing themselves off and entering a dark, bitter depression.
my heart yearns for their current and future mental health.
my heart yearns for OUR current and future mental health. we’re surrounded by violence every day, real violence and the threat of violence. and we’re surrounded by violence and abuse that aren’t systemically recognized as violence and abuse (like racism and homophobia). we desperately need to heal. and we need to have some real talk real fast.
Administrators of the cosmetology program at a Texas technical school would rather shut down than admit a gay student. Literally.
The Adult Cosmetology program has been at the Beaumont Independent School District’s Taylor Career and Technology Center for more than a decade. According to instructor Cequada Clark, a man who was perceived to be gay was enrolled in the program this year, something that infuriated the principal.
When the principal consulted legal representation and learned he could not deny a student admission based on sexual orientation, he decided to shut down the whole program instead.
“I don’t understand this. I really don’t,” Clark said. “(Principal Amons) told me he would rather shut down the program altogether than to have ‘riff-raff’ like that in the program. The next day, he shut down the program.” …
Clark said she knew Amons was serious when 22-year-old Kwmane Gray tried to enroll in the program.
“As soon as we got a student that (Amons) thought was gay, that was the end. He saw (Gray) come into the class, and then he came to get me out of there,” Clark said of Principal Amons, a man who also serves as a deacon at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church. The instructor said she was told to tell Gray he wasn’t welcome in the program. Feeling a moral objection to what was taking place, she refused. “I told (Amons) if he wanted to tell that young man that, he would need to do that himself.”
I don’t even know what to say. This is just so backwards. Feel free to email the school district and tell them so.
Transgender people, the majority of whom have never had problems voting in the past, may now lose their right to vote due to dozens of new voter suppression laws. Over 25,000 transgender people could have their voting rights taken away. In response to these dubious new laws, we have released two resources to help transgender people reclaim their voting rights.
Definitely take a look at this website if you’re eligible to vote this upcoming election! It’s extremely important, considering that Romney will literally try to take away our basic human and legal rights. Spread this around as well so your trans* followers can see it.
President Obama this week nominated Pamela Ki Mai Chen to the federal bench. She would be the first gay Asian-American woman to hold such a position.
Chen was recommended for the spot by Sen. Chuck Schumer, who called her a “fantastic” nominee. Some background from the NY Daily News on what she’s done:
The LGBT and human rights community cheered Chen’s choice. She is the second Chinese-American woman nominated to a federal judgeship and the fifth openly gay attorney nominated to the federal bench by Obama, according to Washington Blade, a gay newspaper in D.C.
Chen’s boss, Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch, said Chen is “quite simply, the complete package.”
In the Eastern District, Chen’s most recent case targeted a Mexican ring, Los Granados, whose members pleaded guilty to trafficking in underage girls. Earlier, she prosecuted a Yemeni cleric who raised money for terrorists in Brooklyn mosques and a group of Staten Island teenagers who pleaded guilty to racially motivated attacks on the night Obama was elected.
Mitt Romney is set to announce Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate for the presidential ticket today. What does that mean for us?
At the link above, the Advocate’s got a full story about Ryan’s voting record on LGBT rights issues. In case you’re curious, OnTheIssues.org also has a full breakdown of Ryan’s stances here, from abortion to healthcare to energy. Some you may find particularly informative:
- Voted YES on Constitutionally defining marriage as one-man-one-woman. (Jul 2006)
- Voted YES on Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage. (Sep 2004)
- Voted YES on banning gay adoptions in DC. (Jul 1999)
- Voted NO on enforcing against anti-gay hate crimes. (Apr 2009)
Basically, when it comes to LGBT rights (and most other issues), we’re looking at a mini version of Romney. Not that anybody’s shocked.
The Boston Globe has recovered documents showing that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s administration blocked an antibullying guide from being published in 2006 because it included the words “bisexual” and “transgender.”
At the time, Romney said that the public school antibullying guide wouldn’t be published because it was lengthy and needed review. But the Globe located an email from a public official saying otherwise:
“Because this is using the terms ‘bisexual’ and ‘transgendered,’ DPH’s name may not be used in this publication,’’ wrote the official, Alda Rego-Weathers, then the deputy commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
This appears to have been part of Romney’s strategy to distance himself from the LGBT community as a way to gear up for his first presidential run and appease social conservatives. About 10,000 copies of the guide were ultimately printed in 2008 after Romney left office, containing information for teachers and administrators on how to stop bullying and hazing.
“Romney put his own political interests ahead of the safety of vulnerable youth,’’ said Don Gorton, a gay-rights advocate and author of the 120-page antibullying report, which was not printed and distributed until after Romney left office.
Well this is certainly good to know. Every piece of information that surfaces about Romney’s past gets more terrifying.
haha. Oh r.money, you so silly.
Do Not Ticket Transgender People for Using the Restroom!
A transgender woman from Dallas was given a ticket and charged with disorderly conduct for using the women’s restroom.
Paula Witherspoon has been transitioning since 2006 and presents herself as a female. There was no one else in the room, but a woman saw her walking out of the restroom and reported her to the police.
She tried to show a transition letter from her doctor, but the police said they have to go by her license — and as of now, her legal name is still Paul Witherspoon. Paula said it was “humiliating, degrading”.
There are anti-discrimination laws in 16 states and the District of Columbia that protect trans* people from situations such as these, but Texas isn’t one of them. Tell Texas to pass an anti-discrimination law. People should not be ticketed for simply using the bathroom! This is discrimination and it is wrong.
Sign the petition here.
The Target Corporation has just launched a line of rainbow-studded t-shirts supporting gay pride season, aiming to donate up to $120,000 of the proceeds to the pro-gay Family Equality Council.
This may come as a shock to many gay rights activists, who remember Target sadly for its past contributions to MN Forward, a group that supported anti-gay political candidate Tom Emmer. However, Target also gets consistently high rankings on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, and it’s a sponsor of Minneapolis-area Pride events.
“Target is not anti-gay,” Michael Francis, Target’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer, told The Los Angeles Times. “It’s important to set the record straight and provide some context.”
The shirts are apparently only available online and through the month of June. Get yours here. And in the meantime, what do you think about this? Is it a change of heart, or has Target always been allied?
These are not good times for anyone affiliated with the National Organization for Marriage, and not surprisingly, that includes Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Documents circulated by the Human Rights Campaign show that Romney donated $10,000 to NOM a few years ago, a contribution that may well have made a huge impact when NOM was fighting for Prop 8. A while back Romney also signed a pledge from NOM promising to fight marriage equality in this country.
More info on the current NOM controversy:
As a donor and presumably a member of NOM, since a portion of all donations automatically goes toward membership dues, it’s possible that the Romney campaign saw the “confidential” memo in which NOM outlines its strategy to “drive a wedge between gays and blacks — two key Democratic constituencies.”
HRC and others are calling on Romney to denounce NOM. But as a 2012 candidate he’s signed a pledge from the group that commits him to its ideals, including a ban on marriage equality via an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, an effort to repeal marriage equality in Washington, D.C., and the formation of a presidential commission to investigate NOM’s opponents.
Crazy stuff. I will never stop saying it: do your research before going to vote in November.
TW: The article linked above includes language that isn’t very trans*-friendly, but it’s the primary source for this info.
A finalist in the Miss Universe Canada competition was kicked out of the pageant when it was discovered she is transgender.
The rules set by the Miss Universe franchise say that contestants must be “naturally born female.” Jenna Talackova, a trans* contestant, indicated that this was true in her forms, but the director of the pageant “suspected otherwise.” When he confronted her, she told the truth and was removed from the competition.
Talackova could not be reached for comment Friday night. In a YouTube interview posted in 2010, she says she knew she was a female at the age of 4 and began hormone therapy at 14. She surgically changed her gender a few years ago when she was 19.
“I regard myself as a woman with a history,” Talackova says in the video, winking.
This is really unfortunate. I thought we were past this by now.
Evie had no idea the boy she cared for in his childhood in Indonesia had become the president of the United States. But when she saw “Barry” on TV and in the paper after the election, she knew it had to be him.
“Now when people call me scum,” she says, “I can just say: ‘But I was the nanny for the President of the United States!’”
Evie has recently made headlines for a lot of things: firstly, because she was Barack Obama’s nanny way back when he was a kid, and secondly, because she’s a transgender woman living a life that’s not quite hers. Evie was born biologically male, and though she identifies as a woman, she’s forced to hide herself because of the harsh persecution of trans* people in Indonesia.
Transgender people constitute a decent part of Indonesia’s population - 7 million of its 240 million people, activists guess - but that doesn’t mean they are respected. Indonesia still has harsh social stigmas against the trans* community that go as far as physical violence and abuse. The Newsday article linked above covers the topic fairly well, but with a couple of flaws in sensitivity, so read at your own risk.
Evie’s story provides a telling account of trans* life in Indonesia, and it also serves as a model to show just how connected we all are. There’s no real way to know if President Obama considers her when making decisions relating to the LGBT (particularly the T) community, but I commend American media for taking note of Evie’s story.
A new LiveScience story examines the high rate of mental health problems in transgender kids and adolescents.
Based partially on a 2010 study that found 41 percent of trans* people in the U.S. have attempted suicide, the article examines how having a gender identity that doesn’t match one’s body can cause serious psychiatric complications.
Researchers attributed those rates to discrimination and stigma, as well as a lack of laws protecting transgender people from employment discrimination. Poor insurance coverage of hormones and other treatments to help a transgender person transition to their desired gender also account for the rates, the researchers found.
But the mismatch between mind and body alone can be a major source of psychological pain, Leibowitz said. Of 97 patients who came to the Endocrine Division for hormones and other treatments related to gender identity disorder between January 1998 and February 2010, 44.3 percent had significant mental health histories. Twenty percent had self-mutilated, and 9.3 percent had attempted suicide at least once. About 37 percent were taking psychiatric medication.
These are some pretty serious numbers, but it’s something we need to know if we’re going to address it properly. So - how do we address it properly?
How to address it properly?
Stop all of the offensive and terrible transphobic jokes that media is saturated with.
When all you ever hear is that you are fake, that nobody will ever see you as a real person, and that your very nature is a source of disgust and/or amusement, it’s pretty fucking hard to feel like there’s a reason to keep on living.
(is it bad that when I read the title, the first thing I thought was “HAHAHAHA this is news?”)
Jon Stewart points out that Fox “News” douchebag Sean Hannity’s “panel” discussing contraceptive care is packed with… men. AKA “absolutely everyone who might have something relevant to say about women’s health.”
Women’s reproductive health, according to men.