October is a big month

5 10 2009

October is:

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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LGBTQ History Month

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Domestic Violence Awareness Month

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Sexual Assault Awareness Month (at Tufts)

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Weekly Feminist Reader

27 09 2009

Cara covers the story of a Trans Woman Murdered in Hollywood

Partisan Politican Contributions by US Companies

A Take on The Good Wife: The Wrong Side of the Mommy Track

Health Care Reform — at the Price of Women’s Health?

Nike Makes Black Athlete Look Like…an Animal? An Alien? What?

Cross-generational discussions can be difficult – but we need to have them

Trans-misogyny? There’s an app for that

A topic that’s worth revisiting over and over again: How to be an ally

The Reverse of Discrimination is “Not Discrimination”

Minor Offenses: The Tragedy of Youth in Adult Prisons

What’s wrong with [not just young people] everybody now

Malkin’s venom knows no bounds: Obama “doesn’t like this country very much”, is the “Groveler in Chief”





Coalition for Choice Lobby Day 2009

16 09 2009

Got this info from NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts and from Planned Parenthood.

On October 6, the Mass Coalition for Choice is having a lobby day in support of the Comprehensive Health Education Bill and the Repeal Bill.  Come out and demonstrate your support for real health ed. and repeal of archaic public health laws!

You can help out by urging legislators to support:

1.  An Act Relative to Providing Health Education in Schools (Senate Bill 218/House Bill 3434)-  requires that schools provide age appropriate health ed grades K-12.

2)  An Act Relative to Updating the Public Health Laws (Senate Bill 1610/ House Bill 1745)-  would repeal archaic, unconstitutional abortion and contraceptive restrictions still on the books in Mass.

The lobby day is Oct 6th from 9 am to noon, starting in the Great Hall at the State House in Boston.

NARAL is also offering a lobby day training, which they are willing to come to the classroom and conduct.  Contact organizing@prochoicemass.org to sign up for lobby day or training.  You can also contact Planned Parenthood to sign up at amooers@pplm.org.

*Also, Planned Parenthood’s Plan is having an open house Saturday, Oct. 3rd, 11AM-4PM in front of Plan in Davis Square-  260 Elm St.  There will be games, raffle, prizes, info, giveaways, and a 3 for $30 birth control promotion.  The rain date is Oct. 7th.





Stop Trans Pathologization – 2012 Campaign

29 08 2009

The European Transgender Network “Transgender Europe” (TGEU) has expressed its support for the Stop Trans Pathologization – 2012 (STP – 2012) campaign, which has a pretty self explanatory mission of advocating for the depathologization of trans identities and removing Gender Identity Disorder (GID) from the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM and the World Health Organization’s CIE. A revised version of the DSM is due in 2012 and a revised version of the CIE is due in 2014.

TGEU recently released a statement calling upon their member organizations and allies worldwide to join the campaign and organize in their regions. The main demand of the STP – 2012 campaign that TGEU is endorsing as well is to remove GID from international diagnostic manuals. TGEU also has these additional demands:

- The creation of an alternative non-pathologizing category in the ICD 11, recognizing that our gender identities are not mental health disorders while still enabling hormonal and surgical medical assistance to be provided for those trans-people who seek such assistance.

- The funding of hormonal and surgical medical assistance for trans people by national health insurance.

- The creation of processes for changing legal name and gender without compulsory treatment or any form of diagnosis.

October 17, 2009 is the established date for demonstrations in cities worldwide this year, so save that date! TGEU is collecting information about planned demonstrations in cities and so far, over 80 trans organizations and allies from over 40 cities in Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe have expressed their support and solidarity, and/or confirmed their participation. Hopefully that number will just soar in the next couple weeks.

If you would like to confirm the support and/or participation of your group, email research@tgeu.org with the subject JOIN STP 2012 before September 5th. Be sure to include your group/organization’s name, logo if there is one, country, city, and the message: We want to join the campaign “Stop Trans Pathologization – 2012″.





Weekend Reads

22 08 2009

Dana Goldstein on the need for a public health insurance plan to provide reproductive health coverage.  Over at The Nation, Sharon Lerner has more on why women need health care reform.

An interesting photo essay that questions and explores what it means to be masculine.  It’s accompanied with an interview with the photographer, Chad States.  The subjects of some of the photos include trans men.

The children’s books industry is a very much white run industry and often children’s books are embedded, subtly and not-so-subtly, with racist undertones.  Read this post on Racism Review about children’s books are very much white-framed and whitewashed.

Here are some thoughts on 18-year old South African runner Caster Semenya whose female-ness was being questioned because she doesn’t conform to traditional western standards of femininity.  Bird of Paradox has more.

Michelle Obama should be allowed to wear shorts without coming under such scrutiny by the media and the public, especially while vacationing at the Grand Canyon.

Being careful with language is very important, especially since language is used to normalize.  There has been much discussion online about language and privilege.  Deeply Problematic takes on being blinded by privilege in these two posts: “Blinded by Privilege”: ableist language in critical discourse and For the Uninformed: Privilege, Perspective and The Little Things That Jab.  Hoyden About Town also has a post on unexamined privileges and unconscious behaviors.

Here is a long but interesting article that contextualizes the use of rape as a weapon of war.  Author Crystal Feimster, a historian at the University of North Carolina, claims that rape was used as a weapon of war way back in the Civil War, which is a new contention.

This one’s more of an uplifting story about a woman in a small West Virginian town, Maria Gunnoe, who took on the coal industry and was victorious.  She was a great community organizer who took action against the coal tycoons and despite threats, harassment and violence, she is not giving up the fight.





This article is an EPIC FAIL

4 08 2009

The Los Angeles Times had an article out on July 27th in their Health section titled, Tough love for fat people: Tax their food to pay for health care.  I kid you not, that is what the actual article is called.

Tax their food?  Because fat people just gorge themselves off junk food all day.  You know, chips, cookies, ice cream, soda.  So taxing “fat people food” would mean taxing junk food, assuming that only fat people eat junk food (that’s why they’re so fat, duh).  Not a sound assumption because being thin does not necessarily equal being healthy.  And being fat does not necessarily equal being unhealthy.

Also, what is this fat tax supposed to do?  Taxing and increasing the price of cigarettes has done little to make people quit smoking.  Is the logic something like, if fat people have to pay more to eat their fatty foods they’ll stop buying it, therefore stop eating it and magically become skinny?

The article stupidly tries to argue that fat people are putting an immense strain on the health care system, so if we tax their food then they’ll stop dragging the rest of us down along with them.  It also demonizes and further shames fat people – yes, there are some fat people who eat a lot of junk food, but there are also lots of skinny people who eat a lot of junk food but don’t get fat.  And there are also a lot of fat people who exercise regularly and eat healthy yet do not lose weight.

So fat = unhealthy, unmoral and disordered is not necessarily true. A significant amount of the dialogue around fat and obesity is very fat-shaming.  And saying that the health care system is strained because of all these fatties pits fat people against thin people, which is ridiculous and not at all a constructive way to discuss the health care system.





Massachusetts Department of Public Health publishes results of a survey on the health of the state’s LGBT community

2 08 2009

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health recently published the results of “the largest survey to date comparing the health of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) residents to heterosexual and non-transgender residents in Massachusetts”.

The Executive Summary highlights the following findings:

  • Among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, the health of bisexual and transgender people is somewhat worse than their heterosexual and nontransgender counterparts, respectively.
  • The health of lesbian, gay, people is comparable to that of heterosexual respondents. However, lesbians were less likely to have routine pap tests compared with their heterosexual female counterparts.
  • Transgender persons had worse outcomes with respect to self‐reported health, disability status, depression, anxiety, suicide ideation, and lifetime violence victimization.
  • Bisexual respondents how worse outcomes with respect to self‐reported health, disability status, suicide ideation, as well as lower rates of mammography for bisexual women compared with their heterosexual female counterparts.
  • Legally married same‐sex couples were more likely to obtain health insurance through their spouse’s employer than non‐legally same sex couples.

While the findings of this survey are not too surprising, they are still significant.  As Bird of Paradox writes:

To my mind, what’s missing from a lot of these data is the “why” aspect: why are trans people less likely to have access to a doctor than gay and lesbian people, why do we feel depressed more often than cis people, why do we feel suicidal more often, why are we more likely to report being threatened with physical violence by an intimate partner than cis people, and so on. Of course, those reasons will undoubtedly vary widely between individuals, but it would have been interesting to know if any patterns had emerged, and if there were any differences between trans and cis populations.

Overall, I think the report is to be welcomed, cautiously – but I also hope that a more rigorous (and bigger) survey can be carried out in the near future. If nothing else, it suggests that the problems we face in our everyday lives are in urgent need, not only of study, but positive and supportive action by the mainstream cis society which oppresses us in so many ways. However, I also think that for there to be any real improvements in our circumstances there first needs to be a substantial change in cis people’s attitudes to us – and that doesn’t look likely to happen any time soon.








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