Map Shows Just How Far the World Has to Go to Reach Gender Equality []

The United States is #42.

By  @jessicakroy

Based on stats culled from a report from the United Nations Development Programme, the below map highlights each country’s Gender Inequality Index, a figure calculated by analyzing factors such as the maternal mortality rate, number of seats women hold in government bodies and the labor force participation rate. The lower the number, the better gender equality each country has.

2012′s research found that the Netherlands was the country with the highest rate of gender equality, while Yemen had the lowest. Check out the below map, plus the 10 countries with the best gender parity.

Click this link to read more:

Quote of the Day: Strong Children

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” – Frederick Douglas

This Is What’s in President Obama’s Gun Control Package []

By Robert Kessler /

A few minutes ago, President Obama announced a $500 million package, synthesized from suggestions put forth by Vice President Joe Biden’s task force on gun control, aimed at curbing gun violence in the U.S. in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre. The President called on Congress to take action in a number of ways, including:

  • Establishing universal background checks for anyone looking to buy a gun
  • Banning military-style assault weapons, as well as a 10-round cap on gun magazines
  • Confirming Todd Jones as the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. (Jones is currently acting director, as Congress has not confirmed a director in six years)

Immediately following the announcement, Obama also signed 23 executive actions, which do not require congressional approval. They are the following:

  1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.
  2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.
  3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.
  4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.
  5. Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.
  6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.
  7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.
  8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety
  9. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns
    recovered in criminal investigations.
  10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it
    widely available to law enforcement.
  11. Nominate an ATF director.
  12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper
    training for active shooter situations.
  13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.
  14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to
    research the causes and prevention of gun violence.
  15. Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effective
    use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop
    innovative technologies.
  16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients
    about guns in their homes.
  17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits
    them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.
  18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.
  19. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.
  20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.
  21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.
  22. Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.
  23. Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental

During his announcement, Obama stated that in the month since the massacre in Newtown, more than 900 Americans have been killed by guns. Obama, who at parts of the speech was both emotional and forceful, urged several times he will do everything he can to curb gun violence in America.

Holy health: Hospital program aims to boost community health []

by Barbara Cotter /

Judging from the questions and statements in the survey that Patsy Janeba took one day, you could almost see her stretched out on a couch in a therapist’s office, mulling over her existence.

“In general, how satisfied are you with your life?”

“What keeps me up at night?”

“I suffer most with …”

This, however, was not your typical setting for deep soul-searching — though executives at Penrose-St. Francis Health Services believe it might be the perfect place to ask such questions. Janeba was at church, and she took the survey with the others at Trinity Lutheran Church to assess the spiritual well-being of the congregation.

The survey is one cornerstone of a relatively new Penrose-St. Francis program, the Church Health Project, part of the hospital system’s longstanding effort to boost community health and wellness by reaching people through their places of worship and emphasizing the connection between body and soul.

“Generally speaking, if you were to ask a church what its health care ministry would look like, they’d say, ‘We visit the sick and we bury the dead,’” says Penrose-St. Francis Vice President of Mission Integration Larry Seidl. “What we’re trying to do here at Penrose-St. Francis is ask the question: ‘What can a church do for its members to keep them well, or to be with them differently in the process of getting sick?’”

For about 13 years, Penrose-St. Francis has been helping churches create health ministries, with guidance from its team of Faith Community Nurses. Some of the 20 Colorado Springs churches that Penrose-St. Francis works with offer basic services, such as blood-pressure checks and flu-shot clinics. Others, including Trinity Lutheran, have a more robust program.

“It really depends on the church, and what resources they have” says Cynthia Wacker, head of the Faith Community Nurses. “We always encourage them to make sure they open it broadly enough so anyone interested in health and wellness — counselors, spiritual advisers, mental health professionals, chiropractors in the church — can be involved in the wellness of this church.”

Click to continue reading the article…


Can We Talk … About Vaginal Myths? []

by Jack Neff /

Kimberly-Clark Corp. would like to start a conversation about vaginas.

On Jan. 7 its U by Kotex brand is launching a “Generation Know” campaign featuring 30- and 15-second TV spots. While the spots dance around the “V” word for the sake of getting past network standards, they support a much franker series of online videos and a website styled as a sort of social network for discussing vaginal health.

Work from WPP’s Ogilvy & Mather, New York, leads the effort for the nearly three-year-old offshoot of the venerable Kotex brand. U by Kotex reversed a decades-long decline for the franchise by using offbeat, colorful designs, new packaging and a campaign that broke the conventions of feminine-care marketing.

Now, the brand is taking a step further by talking more directly about the anatomy it serves. The Generation Know effort addresses such “vaginal health myths” as the idea that using tampons means girls lose their virginity, or that the products can get lost in their bodies.

“One might view this work as provocative,” said Melissa Sexton, integrated marketing planning director at K-C. “But it’s provocative not for the sake of being provocative, but because that’s the way the honest conversation needs to happen.”

The TV ad uses testimonials from women young and old to address such myths as the virginity issue or the notion that “everyone will know” when a woman has her period. The online videos delve deeper, including a mini-documentary (below) where video blogger Kat Lazo confronts women on the street with diagrams and questions about vaginas.

Click Here for First YouTube MiniDoc on Vaginal Myths

Click Here for Second YouTube MiniDoc on Vaginal Myths

Click to Read the Rest of the Article…

Talking to Children About Death

Webinar for Transgender Education and Resources

Sex-Segregated Services:
Finding Resources for Transgender Clients

Webinar for Anti-Violence Professionals
August 9, 2012  /  2:00 – 3:30pm Central


August 9, 2012 webinar titled “Sex-segregated services: Finding resources for transgender clients?”   Learn more by going to and please share with your co-workers and colleagues.


In an ideal world, every client would have access to ANY medical/ mental health service.  Unfortunately, many services are sex-segregated, which creates barriers for clients (and providers) who are seeking the care and services they deserve. This webinar will examine how to creatively advocate for and with your clients.


Archived Webinars and Q&A

Did you miss the first two webinars in this monthly series? Would you like a co-worker or collegue to access the this information?  You can listen to the webinars and download related handouts by going to the following links:
Transgender 101: Serving Gender Variant Victims of Crime

(June 14, 2012)

Note: To respond to questions we were not able to address during the webinar, we have constructed a written response to all questions that came in during and after the webinar.  Go directly to the Q&A to access information on the following subjects:

    • Logistics and information related to FORGE (7 questions)
    • Language (6 questions)
    • Policy and paperwork (4 questions)
    • Best practices (5 questions)
    • Statistics and references (9 questions)
    • Client issues (5 questions)
    • Other professionals (5 questions)
    • Other resources (1 questions)

Transgender Survivors: Statistics, Stories, Strategies

(July 12, 2012)

Quote of the Day: Refuse to take Life Tragically

“Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically.  The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new little habitats, to have new little hopes.  it is rather hard work: there is now no smooth road into the future: but we go round, or scramble over the obstacles.  We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.”

- Lady Chattlery/ Lady Chatterly’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence

Michigan House Passes Anti-Gay ‘License To Condemn’ Counseling Bill []

by Zack Ford /

At question in Michigan is whether or not a Christian counseling student should be required to provide support to gay clients in violation of their religious beliefs. This week, the Michigan House passed HB 5040, the “Julea Ward Freedom Of Conscience Act,” which gives college students a pass from providing any kind of counseling that compromises their religious beliefs, including affirming gay clients:

A public degree or certificate granting college, university, junior college, or community college of this state shall not discipline or discriminate against a student in a counseling, social work, or psychology program because the student refuses to counsel or serve a client as to goals, outcomes, or behaviors that conflict with a sincerely held religious belief of the student, if the student refers the client to a counselor who will provide the counseling or services.

Julea Ward’s story doesn’t hold much merit for the issue at stake. She sued Eastern Michigan University after she was kicked out of her counseling graduate program — she refused to affirm a client’s gay orientation because it “goes against what the Bible says.” A federal district court judge dismissed her suit, ruling that the university “had a right and duty” to enforce the professional ethic rules that dictate its counseling accreditation. He added that Ward’s dismissal “was entirely due” to her “refusal to change her behavior” rather than her beliefs. The 11th Circuit similarly ruled against Jennifer Keeton, who experienced a similar situation at Augusta State University in Georgia, stating that “counselors must refrain from imposing their moral and religious values on their clients.”

By advancing this legislation, Michigan lawmakers are essentially attempting to circumvent — if not dictate — counseling ethical standards. While it’s very true that in a professional setting, a Christian counselor could defer a gay client to another counselor, there’s no guarantee that they will. Even the very act of deferring could add to the stigma and harm the client is already experiencing, let alone the potential that harmful ex-gay therapy might be offered instead. The ethical standards exist for a reason, and should HB 5040 become law, it would compromise the integrity of all counseling programs in the state of Michigan.

As activist Wayne Besen pointed when the legislation was first introduced, “counseling should be about the client, not the self-serving needs of the therapist.” But Michigan lawmakers have made clear this year how little concern they have for gay citizens. In December, they banned all domestic partnerships, and in November, they almost created a “license to bully” in schools. Through it all, Gov. Rick Snyder (R) has refused to even meet with LGBT press outlets.

Movie Trailer: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

“We get the love we decide we deserve…”

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