One-Way Wantonness []

by Frank Bruni /

Hussy. Harlot. Hooker.

Floozy. Strumpet. Slut.

When attacking a woman by questioning her sexual mores, there’s a smorgasbord of slurs, and you can take your rancid pick. Help me out here: where are the comparable nouns for men? What’s a male slut?

A role model, in some cases. In others, a presidential candidate.

“Gigolo” doesn’t have the acid or currency of “whore,” and the man with bedpost notches gets compliments. He’s a Casanova, a conquistador.

The lady is a tramp.

Nearly two weeks since Rush Limbaugh let loose on Sandra Fluke, equating her desire for insurance-covered birth control with a prostitute’s demand for a fee, the wrangling over how awful that really was and whether it will truly haunt him continues.

Advertisers bolted in protest; advertisers come and go all the time. It was the beginning of his end; it was ratings chum. He lost his way; he was Rush in Excelsis.

One especially robust strand of commentary has focused on whether Limbaugh, a god of the far right, was smacked down for the kind of thing that less conservative men routinely get away with.

Click to continue reading the article at the NY Times…


San Francisco Police Department Issues “It Gets Better” Videos

Mayor Lee & Chief Suhr Unveil First of its Kind LGBT Youth Video. 

The San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) along with Mayor Ed Lee is proud to announce the debut of the “SFPD It Gets Better” video project as part of the nationwide campaign to end bullying of LGBT youth. The video provides a message of transformation, hope and encouragement to LGBT yo…uth that it does get better. The SFPD is the first and only Police Department in the country to produce a video for the campaign.

“It Gets Better” is a nationwide project, that offers support and encouragement to youth who are struggling with their sexual identity or bullied for being “different.” These messages of hope let young people know that they are not alone and that help is available.

The making of this video was a concerted effort by numerous members of the SFPD with the assistance of San Francisco film maker Shawn Northcutt who produced and edited the video along with San Francisco local musician Lynden Bair who developed the musical score.

“Today our Police Department joins the nationwide campaign to end bullying of LGBT youth by producing a heartfelt video that provides a message of hope and encouragement that it will get better,” said Mayor Ed Lee. “San Francisco is a city that prides itself on embracing equality for all and this video is another great example of our commitment to reinforcing our City’s values.”

Chief Greg Suhr wants youth to know that it really does get better. “This is a first of its kind video for the SFPD and for any law enforcement agency in the United States. I hope this message of encouragement will give hope to anyone who might be bullied because of who they are. The members of the SFPD will continue to work with all young people and reach out to the communities, as mentors and role models.”

“Suicide is not the answer.”
If you’re considering suicide or need help, call the Trevor Project now.

Gov signs transgender rights bill []

by Christine Lee, 22News State House Correspondent

BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Governor Deval Patrick hosted a ceremonial signing Thursday of a civil rights bill that extends protection from discrimination to people based on their gender identity or gender expression.

“I signed this bill as a matter of conscience. No individual should face discrimination because of who they are,” said Patrick

“And we intend to enforce that bill the way it is intended to do,” said Attorney General Martha Coakley.

Patrick formally signed the transgender rights bill quietly in his office late November, but the start-of-the-year ceremonial signing drew an overflowing crowd from the transgender community.

Legislative leaders praised the progress Massachusetts is making toward recognizing transgender rights.  “Allowing them to more easily find employment, housing, education, credit, and most importantly, a better quality of life,” said House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop)

The bill is big step for the Commonwealth, but activists note, their work isn’t over yet.

“These things are vital but we mostly need public accommodation,” said Danica Ali, an LGBT activist from Springfield.  “[It] must be added to the bill.”

Public accommodation refers to the right to stay at a hotel, ride a bus, or even use a bathroom without being discriminated against.  The bill signed by the governor falls short of extending those rights to transgendered people and activists feel their fight isn’t over until it does.

“Just because it’s such a basic right for people and the fact that it’s not protected is kind of atrocious,” said Kaylin MacNeil of Holyoke.

The governor acknowledged there’s work to be done but for today, he wants to relish in what they’ve accomplished so far.  The House Speaker said nearly 33,000 Massachusetts residents will now no longer face discrimination.

NAACP president says group supports extending rights to transgender residents in Maryland []

NAACP President Benjamin Jealous said Thursday the civil rights group supports legislation in Maryland to extend rights to transgender residents.

Jealous spoke at a national conference on rights for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, the 24th national conference on LGBT equality.

“This striving for inclusion is not new,” Jealous told a crowded convention room at the Baltimore Hilton.

Under Jealous, the Baltimore-based National Association for the Advancement of Colored People launched an equality task force for the LGBT community. The Maryland measure would extend rights relating to employment and housing to transgender residents.

Last year, legislation that would have protected transgender people from housing and employment discrimination passed the House of Delegates, but the bill failed to pass the Senate.

About a week after the legislative session adjourned in April, an attack on 22-year-old transgender woman at a McDonald’s restaurant in Rosedale highlighted the issue again.

First Lady Katie O’Malley, who also attended the conference, told a crowd outside the convention room where Jealous spoke that “cowards” prevented same-sex marriage legislation from passing in Maryland last year. The measure cleared the Senate but stalled in the House of Delegates.

“We didn’t expect the things that happened to the House of Delegates to occur, but sadly they did, and there were some cowards that prevented it from passing,” she said.

Still, she told the crowd she and her husband, Gov. Martin O’Malley, are hoping the votes will be there this year.

The governor has made same-sex marriage legislation a priority this session.

Katie O’Malley, who is a judge in Baltimore District Court, also told the crowd that religion should not play a role in determining state laws relating to civil rights.

“We’re all very diverse and that’s what makes us so strong, but religion should never play a part in what the laws of our state are, and that’s what we’re trying to convey to religious leaders who are opponents of the bill,” she said.

Sweden keeps sterilisation rule for trans recognition []

by Joseph McCormick /

The Swedish Government have announced that they will not modernise a law from the 1970s which makes sterilisation compulsory for transgender people before the state will recognise their gender identity.

Many have argued that the current law breaks Article 3 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which protects “the right to respect for [everyone’s] physical and mental integrity”.

The majority of the Swedish Parliament are reportedly in favour of the change, but the process has been blocked by a small conservative party.

Sirpa Pietikäinen, Finnish centre-right MEP told The European Parliament LGBT Intergroup: “This isn’t about LGBT rights; it’s about human rights and torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.”

Raül Romeva i Rueda, Green MEP from Spain added: “The government’s decision is rather surprising: forcibly sterilising transgender people is recognised as inhumane across the political spectrum. It’s barbaric, outdated and highly unnecessary—not to mention against Sweden’s human rights commitments.”

At this time, the World Health Organisation classifies gender dysphoria under “mental and behavioural disorders”, a definition the European Parliament have already called to be changed.

As well as mandatory sterilization, the 1972 law also makes divorce compulsory for trans people, which it has been suggested, does not line up with recent “gender neutral” marriage law changes in the country.

Speaking to news agency TT in 2010, Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt described the law as “a dark chapter in Swedish history.”

Other party leaders also supported this suggestion, including Christian Democrat Göran Hägglund.

Jane Fae, feminist writer and campaigner on issues of sexual rights responded today, saying: “It is wholly ironic that Sweden is in the news today over this issue – since the question has surfaced in relation to moves to repeal existing laws in this respect, which would be wholly positive.

“It is to be hoped that the Swedish Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, currently in thrall to a small reactionary right-wing party, will pluck up the courage to resist their pressure and allow reform through his parliament.

“However, we should not overlook the fact that despite Human Rights declarations to the contrary, in Europe and elsewhere, the requirement for surgery that effectively sterilises an individual before they can be recognised in their identified gender, is pretty widespread, throughout much of Europe and the United States. Or worse, as in states like Tennessee, gender assertion is not recognised at all, no matter what an individual does.”

Some European countries have already put an end to sterilisation as a prerequisite for recognition, including the UK, Austria, Germany and Portugal, whilst others are soon to follow.

The Nederlands LGBT Equality Policy states that they are currently abolishing the sterilisation requirement, but several other Western countries uphold this law.

France has been at the centre of controversy surrounding this issue, specifically in the case of Delphine Ravisé-Giard, who, despite living as a woman for some years, was told in 2010 that she had to prove that her “change of sex” was “irreversible” before the state would recognize her gender.

Several American states also still have the same law.

A key player in the fight to have these laws changed, Thomas Hammarberg has, in the past, criticized the EU for a general lack of knowledge on these issues.

Hammarberg, the commissioner for Human Rights, wrote in 2009 that “Discrimination against transgender persons must no longer be tolerated” and has criticized the slow move towards the end of transphobia.

There have also been calls from the Swedish Left and Green Parties to review the minimum age for gender reassignment surgery, however this news comes as a blow to those in support of the changes.

Tennessee Bathroom Bill Sponsor: ‘I Would Stomp A Mudhole’ In A Transgender Person []

by Zack Ford /

Much has unfolded in the day since the “Bathroom Harassment Act” was first introduced in the Tennessee legislature, a bill that would fine transgender people $50 for using bathrooms and dressing rooms.

First, state Sen. Bo Watson (R) has withdrawn his version of the bill. He had introduced it as a courtesy to state Rep. Richard Floyd (R), who represents the same region of Tennessee. In a statement to ThinkProgress, Watson’s communications director explained that “Sen. Watson concluded that there are far more pressing issues facing the state of Tennessee at this time.”

Floyd now stands alone as the sponsor of the bill (HB 2279), which he defended yesterday using incredibly transphobic rhetoric. In no uncertain terms, he explained that he would resort to violence if he ever encountered someone transgender in a dressing room:

FLOYD: I believe if I was standing at a dressing room and my wife or one of my daughters was in the dressing room and a man tried to go in there — I don’t care if he thinks he’s a woman and tries on clothes with them in there — I’d just try to stomp a mudhole in him and then stomp him dry.

Don’t ask me to adjust to their perverted way of thinking and put my family at risk. We cannot continue to let these people dominate how society acts and reacts. Now if somebody thinks he’s a woman and he’s a man and wants to try on women’s clothes, let him take them into the men’s bathroom or dressing room.

In an extended interview with WTVF News Chanel 5, Floyd doubled down on his comments, claiming that his bill doesn’t “penalize anybody,” it “protects everybody,” and he could “care less” what transgender advocacy groups think. Watch it:

This bill is nothing short of an outright attack on transgender people, and Floyd’s comments make it clear he lacks any understanding or compassion for the trans community. Enforcement of this bill could lead to ID checks in public restrooms and would be devastatingly stigmatizing, especially considering Tennessee offers no option for individuals to change their birth certificate gender markers. Even individuals passing through one of Tennessee’s airports or bus stops could be targeted for these fines, just for being transgender.


Transman (& former Girl Scout) makes plea to buy more cookies []

by Jenn Harris /

A YouTube clip of a young girl asking people to boycott the sale of Girl Scout cookies surfaced on the Internet Wednesday after the organization decided to allow a 7-year-old transgender child into a troop in Colorado. The video is now unavailable on YouTube (it was made private by its creators), but in the short while it was up, it sparked a heated debate among conservative right-wing advocates and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights activists on the Web.

Buck Angel, who claims to be a transgender former Girl Scout, put up his own video on YouTube as a response. In the video, he pleads with people to support the Girl Scout program.

“I just want to give a shout to Girl Scouts for accepting transgender girls into the Girl Scouts troops,” Angel said. “Support Girl Scouts; they are amazing. Thin Mints being my favorite cookies, so please buy as many cookies as you can and help them to really get the message across that it’s not about anything other than showing love and respect and learning how to be a good person.”

The Girl Scouts of Colorado also spoke out in a statement released through the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) in support of transgender children: “If a child identifies as a girl and the child’s family presents her as a girl, Girl Scouts of Colorado welcomes her as a Girl Scout.”

Video: Buck Angel posted this video on YouTube. The caption of the video reads: “This is a video I made in response to the video made by the reportedly 14-year-old Girl Scout, parents and Scout alumni to boycott Girl Scout cookies because Girl Scouts has accepted transgender girls.” Credit: