The department in which she is taking up her position is described as responsible for the development and implementation of social policies which guarantee citizens of Bogota "the ability to exercise their rights, in conditions of equality."
In the interview Piñero -- who has 13 years experience of managing public resources at district and national levels -- also outlined her priorities as newly-appointed director. They include addressing the needs of children and the elderly in the city, and setting up control points within the department to prevent corruption.
Revolting Women: Geneviève Pastre
Pastre’s coming-out, at the age of 56, followed successful careers as an academic, theatre practitioner and poet.
It was during her time as a [theatre] director that Pastre began gaining recognition as a poet, subsequently publishing ten poetry collections between 1972 and 2005. In 1976, having privately begun to live with a woman, she began agitating for lesbian rights in France. Her official coming-out was a declaration in print: the 1980 essay on female sexuality, De L’Amour lesbien (About Lesbian Love).
By 2000, Pastre had published a further five books, including historical works. As the titles of Homosexuality in the Ancient World and Athens and the Sapphic Peril suggest, Pastre was one of the first feminist theorists to deconstruct classical myths. Challenging the dominance of Foucault’sHistory of Sexuality, she argued that Foucault – and with him the male academy – had misinterpreted both ancient languages and lesbian sexuality.
Pastre’s greatest contribution, however, has undoubtedly been to the transformation of queer rights, and thus queer life, in France. A year before coming out in the pages of De L’Amour lesbien, Pastre co-founded Comité d’Urgence Anti-Répression Homosexuelle(CUARH). Mobilising the smaller, disparate French gay rights groups that already existed – including David et Jonathan (gay Christians), and Beit Haverim (gay Jews) – CUARH organised a massive protest on 4th April 1981. 10,000 French LGBT people and allies joined what has since been recognised as France’s first ever gay rights march, campaigning for homosexual sex (decriminalised since the French revolution) to have the same age of consent as for heterosexuals.
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"Don't ask, don't tell" is over Tuesday.
The ban against gays serving openly in the military has been repealed. Starting Tuesday, gay service members cannot be discriminated against for their sexual identity. But the policy has affected the lives of thousands of people during the 18 years it was in place. NPR spoke with two of them: one who was discharged from the military under the law eight years ago; the other a gay Marine who has been keeping his sexual identity a secret for 14 years. MORE
Ed Mead, organizing prisoner
Writing on the back of picture reads, “MAS [Men Against Sexism] member Ed Mead + Danny Atteberry (misidentified as “lovers” in CM [“Concrete Mama”, a nickname for the prison]) walk the tier of Big Red, the isolation unit at Walla Walla State Pen. 77 or 78
Ed Mead was arrested relatively early in the Brigade’s trajectory, so he spent much of his organizing time behind bars. In his close to twenty-year sentence, Mead led work strikes, filed petitions, and generally did his best to fan the flames of discontent wherever he went. This made him something of a scourge to prison administrators, who bounced him through state and federal penal systems, moving him along whenever his organizing efforts began to bear fruit.
One of his more notable efforts was Men Against Sexism (MAS), a group of “tough faggots” who forcibly stopped the buying and selling of prisoners by prisoners for the purpose of sexual exploitation [violent pimping of weaker prisoners by stronger ones] in Walla Walla. During the group’s zenith in 1978, MAS proved so effective that a feminine male prisoner could wear a dress around without threat of violence. MORE
pic at the source.
Ed Mead and Men Against Sexism: The Story of a Revolutionary Queer Prison Group
Ed Mead's Website
On particular midweek nights, throngs of men and women gather at a few particular clubs to dance the night away to pulsating beats, and sometimes live music. The men dance provocatively close to each other, with reckless abandon. The few women around do the same with each other. Kisses are even exchanged.
At seaside dance parties where beer and reggae flow to all and sundry, it’s no longer uncommon for men and women in Ghana’s capital city, Accra, to test the waters and try to pick up companions of the same sex. Even in conservative Ghana, it seems that gays and lesbians are taking steps out in the public domain, at least at night.
But like elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa, a backlash to that new openness has erupted as well. Since late May, it has spilled out onto the radio. Hours are spent debating whether gays should be allowed to exist here. Then Ghanaians wake up to national headlines screaming that gays and lesbians are dirty and sinful and ought to be locked up.
The pattern is becoming a familiar one throughout sub-Saharan Africa. As evangelical Christianity has seen its fastest growth on the continent, gay communities have simultaneously grown more open. The parallel developments have led to a growing list of countries in which politicians and media outlets have both incited and exploited social panic around sexuality. In the late 1990s, a beleaguered Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe drew global attention as he invited violence against gay people and blamed the country’s growing troubles on the European deprivation he said they symbolized. Since then, similar moments have struck in places stretching across the continent. Most recently, Uganda has been embroiled in controversy over a proposed law that would, among other things, allow the death penalty as a punishment for homosexuality. The authors of that law are closely tied to the U.S. religious right.
Now, this West African nation is having its own gay-dialogue moment and, once again, much of it has been unsavory, with religious leaders and some politicians stoking the flames.
“Gay bashing had never been a feature of the Ghanaian social landscape until, oh, I would say the last 10-15 years. And it came with the evangelical Christians,” says Nat Amartefio, 67, a historian, lifelong resident and former mayor of Accra.MORE
Questions: WHY is evangelical Christianity so popular? What needs and wants does it fulfill? Who is funding it? Who are the missionaries? How in the hell do we stop it? Why is it that progressive Christianity seems to be so fucking far behind the assholes? Because GODDAMN, I am sick and fucking TIRED of this.
KOLKATA, India, Sep 5, 2011 (IPS) - It was with some trepidation that Nivvedan, a student at the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) - Bombay, helped launch ‘Saathi’ (Companion), catering to the needs of people with different sexual orientations on campus.
Yet, when Saathi held its first meeting in July it attracted not only students but also alumni and even some members of the faculty. "There’s a lot of confusion around sexuality in our society. We have encountered it in our campus too," Nivvedan told IPS.
Nivvedan expects Saathi to grow as "students who need support gain better confidence in the sessions. Right now most of them would rather discuss things in an informal way with other fellow students."
"I believe the issue of sexual orientation, homosexuality etc. should be discussed and awareness created right from student life," said Nivvedan, acutely conscious of the fact that the initiative is the first one of its kind on an Indian campus.
Ketan Tanna, activist with ‘Gay-Bombay’, an informal group of "like-minded gay people," says: "None of the colleges in Mumbai (formerly Bombay) has active lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activism or any guidance cell, so this is a first."
The initiative by IIT-Bombay suggests that gay rights are slowly gaining acceptance into India’s conservative society and that its decriminalisation by an order of the Delhi High Court order in 2009 is beginning to have an effect. MORE
RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug 25, 2011 (IPS) - Brazil is making progress in cracking down on homophobia and upholding the rights of homosexuals. The latest step was the introduction in Congress of a bill on sexual diversity, sponsored by the bar association in consultation with civil society.
The 109-article bill, which would reform 132 legal provisions, was drafted by a special commission of experts set up by the Federal Council of the national bar association (OAB), who received some 200 suggestions and contributions from activists and social movements over the last four months.
The chief aim is to guarantee the rights of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual) population, protect freedom of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender equality, as well as the right to form a family, and fight discrimination, lawyer Maria Berenice Dias, who presides over the OAB's Special Commission on Sexual Diversity, told IPS.
"So far there is no law recognising LGBT rights. I have been working in the area of gay rights for 10 years," said Dias, who set up the OAB commission on Apr. 15.
"We saw the need for broad legislation on this question in Brazil, which has laws protecting children, people with special needs and others, but not homosexuals," she said.
But she noted the historic unanimous ruling handed down by the Supreme Court on May 5, recognising same-sex civil unions.
The verdict helped paved the way for homosexual couples to gain access to rights like a pension, inheritance, and the adoption of children. "It took a decade to achieve that legal recognition by the courts," said Dias.MORE
A Cuban man and transgender woman have married in what is being seen as the country's first "gay wedding".
Same sex marriage is illegal in Cuba, but bride Wendy Iriepa is legally a woman after undergoing one of the first state-sponsored sex changes in 2007.
Her fiance, Ignacio Estrada, is a noted dissident and gay rights activist in Cuba and is also HIV positive.
The couple said the wedding, timed to coincide with Fidel Castro's birthday, was a "gift" for the former leader.
The wedding in Havana was attended by prominent dissidents and members of the gay community.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people faced official discrimination for years in communist Cuba.
In the early days of the revolution many were sent to re-education camps to stamp out their "counter-revolutionary" values.
But homosexuality was made legal in 1970, and President Raul Castro has introduced a series of gay rights reforms since taking over from his brother Fidel in 2006.
Last year Fidel Castro himself apologised for the persecution of homosexuals under his rule, calling it a "great injustice".
Ms Iriepa, 37, had her sex-change treatment at the National Centre for Sex Education, which is headed by Raul Castro's daughter, Mariela.
"I dedicate my wedding to all those who want to have their own," she said after the ceremony.
"This is the first wedding between a transsexual woman and a gay man," Mr Estrada, 31, said.
"We celebrate it at the top of our voices and affirm that this is a step forward for the gay community in Cuba."
Dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez, who acted as a godmother at the ceremony, said that while the marriage was not technically a gay wedding "it is the closest we have come".
"We are very happy with what happened today," she wrote on Twitter.
"It was a big step in a small Cuba".MORE
The newly created organization within the UN, UN Women, led by former president of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, (Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director) dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women which was established to accelerate progress on meeting the rights of girls and women worldwide, has released their first report yesterday, Progress of the World’s Women.
The report can be downloaded here (link goes to PDF file) and the facts sheets (also in PDF format) are available here.
In the interest of brevity for this post (and you will notice that brevity has not been achieved given the amount of data I went through), I have specifically gone through the fact sheets and not focused on the overall report. I might collate the data in the report itself (which deals with specific cases and studies in each region) for a future post.
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No 'him' or 'her'; preschool fights gender bias
STOCKHOLM – At the "Egalia" preschool, staff avoid using words like "him" or "her" and address the 33 kids as "friends" rather than girls and boys.
From the color and placement of toys to the choice of books, every detail has been carefully planned to make sure the children don't fall into gender stereotypes.
"Society expects girls to be girlie, nice and pretty and boys to be manly, rough and outgoing," says Jenny Johnsson, a 31-year-old teacher. "Egalia gives them a fantastic opportunity to be whoever they want to be."
The taxpayer-funded preschool which opened last year in the liberal Sodermalm district of Stockholm for kids aged 1 to 6 is among the most radical examples of Sweden's efforts to engineer equality between the sexes from childhood onward.
Breaking down gender roles is a core mission in the national curriculum for preschools, underpinned by the theory that even in highly egalitarian-minded Sweden, society gives boys an unfair edge.
To even things out, many preschools have hired "gender pedagogues" to help staff identify language and behavior that risk reinforcing stereotypes.
Some parents worry things have gone too far. An obsession with obliterating gender roles, they say, could make the children confused and ill-prepared to face the world outside kindergarten.MORE
[my note: So FIX the world outside of kindergarten!!! I am SO TIRED of these ridiculous arguments against change! ZOMG if we try to change the status quo we will be challenged!!! Well of course we will be challenged! Stand up to challenge and change society so that the shit we are trying chaneg will be fixed!]
At Egalia — the title connotes "equality" — boys and girls play together with a toy kitchen, waving plastic utensils and pretending to cook. One boy hides inside the toy stove, his head popping out through a hole.
Lego bricks and other building blocks are intentionally placed next to the kitchen, to make sure the children draw no mental barriers between cooking and construction.
Director Lotta Rajalin notes that Egalia places a special emphasis on fostering an environment tolerant of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. From a bookcase, she pulls out a story about two male giraffes who are sad to be childless — until they come across an abandoned crocodile egg.
Nearly all the children's books deal with homosexual couples, single parents or adopted children. There are no "Snow White," "Cinderella" or other classic fairy tales seen as cementing stereotypes.
Rajalin, 52, says the staff also try to help the children discover new ideas when they play.
"A concrete example could be when they're playing 'house' and the role of the mom already is taken and they start to squabble," she says. "Then we suggest two moms or three moms and so on."
Egalia's methods are controversial; some say they amount to mind control. Rajalin says the staff have received threats from racists apparently upset about the preschool's use of black dolls.MORE
I like that they are trying to fix the problem. 4 for you, Sweden!
at ontd_politicalis a gorgeous picture post: Pride POTD (Pictures of the Day): Special New York Edition June 24, 2011 Feast your eyes on the happy...:)
New York: Activists celebrate gay marriage victory, but the fight goes on
On the streets of the West Village in Manhattan – and especially around the gay-friendly pubs and clubs of Christopher Street, where the modern gay rights movement was born – people celebrated and danced in the streets. Crowds of gay and straight people sang and cheered as the news spread. Mayor Michael Bloomberg also welcomed the development. "Today we are stronger than we were yesterday," he said.
Gay rights activists had focused on New York as the biggest battle so far in their continuing fight to give gay couples the same rights and status as heterosexual ones in America. It became a powerful symbolic battleground for both gay people and their opponents, especially as several high-profile Republican presidential candidates are using the issue in their nascent campaigns.
New York's Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo, had made gay marriage a key pledge, but activists had to get a vote through the Republican-controlled state senate. Huge efforts were put into persuading a handful of wavering Republicans to join Democrats in passing the law. One of them, Stephen Saland, had voted against gay marriage in 2009, but gave a speech outlining his change of heart. "My intellectual and emotional journey has ended here today and I have to find doing the right thing as treating all persons with equality," he said.
Another senator, Mark Grisanti, explained his motives for going back on a campaign vow to oppose the move. "I cannot deny a person, a human being, a taxpayer, a worker, the same rights I have with my wife," he said. The move made New York's senate the first Republican-controlled legislative body in America to vote in favour of gay marriage.MORE
How the deal was done in Albany
ALBANY - A vote of conscience has left the four Republican senators who helped legalize gay marriage already facing retribution from the Conservative Party.
Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long said the four have lost the backing of the small but influential party for what he deemed their "betrayal" of principles.
"It's absolutely a betrayal," Long said. "They accepted the Conservative Party endorsement. They knew were we stood on the issue."
But Gov. Cuomo and gay rights advocates had the backs of the four senators - Sens. James Alesi of Rochester, Roy McDonald of Saratoga Springs, Stephen Saland of Poughkeepsie, and Mark Grisanti of Buffalo - Friday night after the historic vote.
ASHLEY HALL: The United Nations human rights body has passed an historic resolution declaring there should be no discrimination or violence against gay men and lesbians.
The local Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby says the resolution will put more pressure on the Federal Government to accept gay marriage.
Sarah Dingle reports.
SARAH DINGLE: This is the first time the United Nations Human Rights Council has recognised the equal rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
The vote passed with 23 countries in favour and 19 against.
Justus Eisfeld is a co-director for Global Action for Transgender Equality in New York. He says it was a tight vote.
JUSTUS EISFELD: There's actually more than we had hoped for.
You have to understand, the UN is governed by all member states - 180-something of them, many of which are very conservative in their attitudes. And a lot of countries have a hard time even talking about sexual orientation or gender identity.
So having an extra resolution that is passed by a membership governed UN body is revolutionary because it means that actually more than half of the countries, in this case in the Human Rights Council, are actually willing to talk about the human rights abuses that lesbians, gay, bisexual and transgender people face.
SARAH DINGLE: He says the vote was presented by South Africa and that in its original form it didn't contain any reference to gender identity.
JUSTUS EISFELD: At first we were very sceptical of this whole process and of course we immediately started to talk to the South African government about our concerns.
Amazingly enough the South African government was really willing to look very seriously at our concerns and to remove them one by one.
SARAH DINGLE: Amongst the countries who supported this resolution were there any surprises?
JUSTUS EISFELD: Yes, a few surprises such as China abstaining, Burkina Faso abstaining, Zambia abstaining, which is huge because it means that they're breaking with the Union of African States and the hugest of them is Mauritius, which actually voted in favour of this resolution.
And that is amazing because it breaks the argument that Nigeria as a head of the African Group was putting forward that all of Africa would be against this, and this is clearly not the case. MORE
The US newspapers are all about patting Obama on the back for this and making the usual "see those Africans and Muslims are so much more homophobic than us!!!" noises. parlance pointed this out to me, so I made an effort to find a source that pays more attention to the nuances of the fight. This is from Australia's ABC News. You should read the rest, its really interesting to see what impact this is going to have on Australia's fight to demand rights for the LGBTQIA community, especially on the subject of gay marriage.
WARSAW, Jun 16, 2011 (IPS) - About 5,000 people attended the Equality Parade in Polish capital Warsaw this weekend. Among them, the country’s first transgender rights activists, who in the last couple of years have made great strides in gaining recognition for the country’s transgender community.
Organisers of the Warsaw Equality Parade were keen to stress that the event was not really a gay pride. Rather, it was a march of all those who feel marginalised in Polish society – from sexual minorities to old people and people with disabilities. Moreover, it was not meant to be a celebration necessarily, but more a statement of how diverse this society is.
"This is not a gay pride, because we don’t really have something to celebrate," explained Szymon Niemiec, one of the main organisers and initiator of the Equality Parade in Poland. "Instead, we are trying to show Polish people the diversity of our society, that yes, there are gays in Poland, there are drag queens and there are queers."
Putting the emphasis on recognition and acceptance of all marginalised social categories - rather than on pride - may be a more digestible message for a Polish society where over 90 percent of the population is affiliated with a conservative Catholic Church and where mainstream politicians often promote homophobic messages.MORE
HUMALA INHERITS a country that is extremely polarized. The vast majority of the population struggles just to survive, sometimes literally. Accoring to Peruvian sociologist Jorge Lora Cam, only 20 percent of the country's gross domestic product comes from wages, and the informal sector has mushroomed. This year, the poverty rate "went down" to 36 percent.
In Lima, over 1 million people lived without running water as of 2008. In the city of Ayacucho, 25 percent of the population faces the same lack.
The signing of bilateral free trade agreements, not only with the U.S. but also with China, has lead to increased sweatshop exploitation in the cities and to an exponential rise in multinational and foreign investment in metal and fuel mining, which in turn displaces peasant and indigenous communities and pollutes the ecosystem, whose land the government now claims the right to sell off.
Those fighting the conglomerates have been at the forefront of struggle in recent years. As the elections took place, the border between Peru and Bolivia was being blocked by indigenous people taking on mining companies. In Cocachacra, Arequipa and the area around these two southern towns, protesters against the Tía María mining project have been shot and killed, but have refused to accept a truce until after the elections take place.
Left candidate wins election in Peru
The victory of left-populist candidate Ollanta Humala in Peru's election is a "big fucking deal", as Vice President Joe Biden famously whispered to Obama on national TV in another context. With respect to US influence in the hemisphere, this knocks out one of only two allies that Washington could count on, leaving only the rightwing government of Chile. Left governments that are more independent of the United States than Europe is now run Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay and Peru. And Colombia under President Manuel Santos is now siding with these governments more than with the United States.
This means that regional political and economic integration will proceed more smoothly, although it is still a long-term project. On 5 July, for example, heads of state from the whole hemisphere will meet in Caracas, Venezuela, to proceed with the formation of Celac (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States). This is a regional organisation that includes all countries except the United States and Canada, and which – no matter what anyone says for diplomatic purposes – is intended to displace the Organisation of American States. The new organisation is a response to the abuse of the OAS by the United States (which controls most of the bureaucracy) for anti-democratic purposes, most recently in the cases of Honduras and Haiti.
These institutional changes, including the vastly expanded role of Unasur (Union of South American Nations) are changing the norms and customs of diplomatic relations in the hemisphere. The Obama administration, which has continued the policies of "containment" and "rollback" of its predecessor, has been slow to accept the new reality. As a result, it does not have ambassadors in Bolivia, Venezuela and Ecuador.MORE
Hope in the Andes: What Ollanta Humala’s Victory Means for Peru
Fried pork rinds, fish, potatoes and eggs were sold by street vendors outside polling stations on election day in Lima, Peru. By nightfall, thousands of people gathered in a central plaza waving the white flags of Ollanta Humala’s political party.
Ollanta is an Incan name meaning “the warrior everyone looks to.” Indeed, all eyes were on the leftist president-elect as he greeted the crowd just before midnight with the words, “We won the elections!”
Humala, a former military officer who led a failed military uprising in 2000, lost the elections in 2006 to Alan Garcia. On the June 5th presidential elections this year, he narrowly defeated Kieko Fujimori, the daughter of ex-president Alberto Fujimori, who was jailed in 2007 for corruption and crimes against humanity. If elected, Kieko would have likely worked to release her father from jail, and carry on his administration’s capitalist and repressive policies.
This election puts Humala among a growing number of leftist presidents in Latin America and offers hope to the poorest sectors of Peruvian society.
The poverty rate in Peru is just over 31 percent; in the countryside, two in three people live under the poverty line. In Sunday’s elections, it was the impoverished rural areas that went for Humala over Kieko Fujimori.
"You cannot speak of Peru advancing if so many Peruvians live in poverty,” Humala said in his victory speech, explaining that he would work to make sure that the government functioned “above all for the poorest people in the country.”MORE
June 2 Peru's Presidential Election: A Battle Over Memory and Justice
When Peruvian presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori arrived at a plaza in the city of Cajamarca for a recent campaign speech, she was met by a barrage of eggs thrown by activists who opposed her candidacy and called her a “murderer and thief.”
The activists were referring to the legacy of her father, Alberto Fujimori, who was Peru’s president from 1990-2000 and jailed in 2007 for a quarter century sentence after being found guilty of corruption and ‘crimes against humanity’.
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Ppl, the free market reforms that Fujimori did were not separate from the massacres and other fuckery he got up to. it was part and parcel of it, to make sure his opponents would stfu and stfd while he got on with capitalism. This thing is from The Economist and I'm linking for the info that it provides, but...jsyk k?
Victory for the Andean chameleon: Having reinvented himself as a moderate, Ollanta Humala has an extraordinary opportunity to marry economic growth with social progress
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I mean to say there! Taxing mining companies!!! Allowing Amerindian nations to have veto power on mining on their own LANDS!!!! What IS this world coming to!!!
A new post on the Gay Girl in Damascus blog includes a confession from Tom MacMaster. Andy Carvin offers independent confirmation of the confession with statements from Tom MacMaster and Britta Froelicher.MacMaster has also separately confirmed he is behind the hoax in response to an email from The Electronic Intifada asking for confirmation. MacMaster wrote:Yes. We will be doing a first interview with a journalist of our choice in 12-24 hours. After that, we may consider other media.
Original postAli Abunimah and Benjamin Doherty write:
We have gathered compelling new evidence regarding the “Gay Girl in Damascus” blogger hoax.
Those responsible for this hoax have caused a great deal of concern and anguish by posting information alleging that “Amina Abdallah Araf al Omari” the supposed “Gay Girl” blogger had been kidnapped from the streets of Damascus, possibly by Syrian authorities, and was likely in grave danger.
A measure of the concern that this story has caused is the formation of a Facebook group calling to “Free Amina Arraf” with more than 15,000 members, as well as numerous action alerts and stories in international media.MORE
Just what the fuck???? WHY THE HELL DID HE DECIDE THAT MAKING A COUNTRY'S REVOLUTION ALL ABOUT HIM WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO????? WHAT JUST WHAT????? RAGE!!!!!
via keeva Syrian LGBT bloogers respond to the FUCKERY that has been perpretrated by this... boil on the backside of humanity: From Damascus with Love: Blogging in a Totalitarian State
If anyone else sees responses, link them in here please?
No really, is there NOTHING that white people will hold sacred? Will refrain from appropriating? Nothing at all?
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Congresswoman Matsui Votes Against H.R. 3
Legislation Would Prohibit Women from Accessing Family Planning Services and Place Burdens on Small Businesses
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Congresswoman Doris O. Matsui (CA-5) voted against H.R. 3, legislation that would for the first time place abortion coverage restrictions on women who purchase insurance in the private market with their own money and small businesses who provide health care to their employees. As a result, this unprecedented attack on a women's right to choose would limit a woman's ability to receive health care services, in addition to adding new burdens for their employers.
"This bill is nothing more than a misnamed attack on American women in order to pursue a politically driven ideological agenda," Congresswoman Matsui said. "It is clear that this legislation is not about preventing taxpayer dollars from going towards abortion procedures, because that is already prohibited by current law. H.R. 3 is really about restricting a women's right to choose by altering business tax codes."
H.R. 3, referred to as the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," would in fact go much further than the title implies. Federal law already prohibits any federal funds from going towards abortions, and health care plans that receive federal funds must keep those funds separate from any funds for abortion services.
In addition to this bill's many shocking provisions and potential tax increases, it would add significant obstacles to small business job growth. Last year, as a result of the Affordable Care Act, small businesses became eligible for a tax credit to assist them in providing private health care coverage to their employees. But H.R. 3 would erase this benefit for small businesses by eliminating the health insurance tax credits for any health insurance plans that include coverage for abortion.
This would not only add a financial burden onto the backs of small businesses, but an administrative one as well. Every small business owner would have to sort through pages of fine print on their insurance plan before applying for this tax credit, instead of spending valuable time growing their business and creating jobs.
Small businesses that do determine that their health insurance policy does in fact cover even one abortion related service would be financially punished in one of two ways. They could either keep their present policy and lose thousands of dollars in tax credits - or they would have to give up their current health insurance plan and most likely have to pay higher premiums for a new plan.
"This bill represents greater intrusion into personal health care matters that should be only between a woman, her doctor and loved ones," added Matsui. "It is dangerous, punitive, and wrong. I strongly oppose H.R. 3 and will continue to fight to protect a woman's right to choose, protect the privacy of all Americans, and fight to improve health care services for all."
# # #
Note: Please do not respond directly to this e-mail. To serve my constituents most effectively, I have dedicated a portion of my website to constituent e-mails. To write me, please visit http://matsui.house.gov/email.asp.
I was both charmed and kinda creeped out by how similarly they thought about what would interest me!
I'm hoping they're not sharing a trans-Atlantic psychic bond I don't know about...
The story they sent me was about the archaeologists who found a "gay caveman" near Prague. I've only managed to find the sensationalist reports, so if any one has an article from an Archaeology blog and/or journal about this issue I'd be very much obliged.
I think it's important that evidence regarding gender variant people in pre and ancient history is important, the fact that a male skeleton was buried in a traditionally feminine pose is significant.
I'm not keen on the anachronism of "gay" and "transsexual" as descriptors for this findings.
Homosexuality as a human category is extremely new, it's hard for us (queer or not) to conceptualise in which sexual behaviour didn't necessarily connote sexual identity - even today, when we try to assert this, it is met with much resistance.
And yet, the category of sexual identity, rather than behaviour is something new, not even 200 years old since the word was first put down in paper back in the 1870's.
So, why this anachronism? Why must we place our own identity markers onto historical moments who most likely did not even consider sexuality in the way we do in our Euro-Centric ideas of universality.
We need to find a way to talk about gender variant people and same-sex relationships that happened before the notion of homosexuality and heterosexuality as identities came to be. That's a lot of history to think about.
Food for thought.
The same way some interpret Jesus as an openly gay man, which to me is simply a queer interpretation of a canonical text, but Jesus as a religious figure can't simply be queered in the way other characters are interpreted in queer and social literary theory.
This, again, is an anachronism, especially if you're going to use Freud, because once to go Freudian you can't really say much any more - if everything is Freudian (especially in the stereotypical, Oedipal triangle one tries to talk about considering Jesus, Mary and Joseph as people, it gets boring, really fast and just adds to the whole sensationalism bit.
Much like the News about Gandhi being bisexual, which was reported quite extensively in Israel due to the fact that his alleged male lover (I say alleged, because I really don't know and I really want to find out!) was a German-Jew muscle-man.
However, Gandhi was a man who lived and died and had an actual impact on people's lives as a non-fictional person, unlike Jesus, who lives in texts and in the hearts of those the idea of him touched and certainly unlike this anonymous cave person who can be a great piece of evidence regarding the fact that gender variance isn't anomalous.
The sexual identity is historical figures and characters is important, because the invisibility and exclusion of queers from history is a thing we feel on our bodies and on our minds. So, yes, it matters if this cave person who is physically male was treated differently in life as he or she were treated in death. And yes, it matters, that interpretations that allow erotic love between Jesus and his followers (who were male and female) not be dismissed as perversions or reduced to Freudian pathology. And yes, it matters if Gandhi was bisexual, because his life influenced a nation and a philosophy people outside of India continue to follow and his sexuality was a part of his life.
Let's not erase lives, histories and ideas - but they should be in perspective as well.
Disability protesters go on a remote offensive
Many disabled people are horrified at the proposed changes to benefits but, for some, street protests are unrealistic. How are they getting their voices heard?
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Young Voters Push Grassroots Issues to the Fore
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Q&A'Microfinance Is Much More Than Just Credit'
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TRADE BETWEEN EU AND CARIBBEAN, AFRICA AND PACIFIC COUNTRIES
TRADE African NGOs Oppose Human Rights Clause in EPAs
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‘Reform legal rights of disabled people’
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Over 1,000 people with disabilities protest against social reforms in Prague, Brno
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Muhame ends up on the wrong end of a $2,100 bill
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Union opens for people with disabilities
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The “Lesbian Until Graduation:” Now A New York Times Most Emailed Article!
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MEDIA It's Still a Man's World, Especially at the Top
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2009 Journeys: Spanish Village of Rainbow Weddings
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Despite the visibility of transgenders in Thailand, there are few represented in professions and public life other than in the entertainment industry. An informal survey of Thai people indicates that almost all well known transgenders in Thailand work in the entertainment industry. There are few, if any, acting as courtroom lawyers, politicians or judges.
The Lawyer Act of Thailand does not forbid cross dressing, nor does it discriminate based on gender or sexual preferences. The code of ethics of Thailand Lawyers requires only that lawyers appearing in Court dress respectfully. There is no restriction as to cross dressing. Court personnel have indicated that transgenders can practice in Thai Courts as long as they dress respectfully.
Other aspects of Thai society are perhaps less progressive. Each year thousands of men are conscripted into the military and a certain proportion of those young men are transgendered. Traditionally, transgenders have been excluded. Unfortunately one of the main grounds for exclusion has been “permanent insanity” and “mental illness”. This designation was recently challenged by [WARNING: The article linked is by globalpost. I...am fairly sure that this article is not the most respectful ever, but unfortunately it is the most comprehensive I've seen on the subject so far. Comments are pretty good though as of now] Samart Meecharoen , a young transsexual or “katoey” as they are known in Thailand.MORE
1) What is the World Social Forum?
The World Social Forum is an open meeting place where social movements, networks, NGOs and other civil society organizations opposed to neo-liberalism and a world dominated by capital or by any form of imperialism come together to pursue their thinking, to debate ideas democratically, for formulate proposals, share their experiences freely and network for effective action. Since the first world encounter in 2001, it has taken the form of a permanent world process seeking and building alternatives to neo-liberal policies. This definition is in its Charter of Principles, the WSF’s guiding document.MORE
...took place in Dakar, Senegal in February this year.
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AS IT HAPPENED
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ANALYZING THE AFTERMATH
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We Have Everything And Lack Everything: In Mexico, Community Police Resist Mining Companies
The southern Mexican state of Guerrero in the 1980's and 90's saw rising violence and insecurity due to government neglect, and in some cases involvement, and a corrupt judicial system. The problem came to a head in 1995 when state police massacred 39 campesinos at Aguas Blancas.
That same year, a series of regional assemblies were held in the Costa Chica and Montaña area in southeast Guerrero leading to the decision that the communities would start their own police force comprised of volunteers. In 1998, in addition to patrolling and detaining suspected criminals, the communities began their own justice and community reeducation program to deal with offenders. The CRAC (Regional Coordinator of Community Authorities), as this effort was christened, is now comprised of over 60 communities and around 100,000 people, and counts on the assistance of 750 volunteer police from the communities themselves. It acts as a parallel authority to state and local government, dealing with almost all aspects of community life through traditional assemblies and consensus.And then came the mining companies...
ATF’s PR Gun Busts Perpetuate Drug-War Fairy Tale
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Women Human Rights Defenders Risk Death, Discrimination
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Meet the 41 Narco News Authentic Journalism Scholars, Class of 2011 :These Talents of Social Conscience Will Come Together for Ten Days of Intensive Training in Mexico in May
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From Red October to Evo Morales: The Politics of Rebellion and Reform in Bolivia
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Bolivian President Uses Former DEA Agent’s Book to Send Message to the World
Bolivian President Evo Morales earlier this week held up a book, titled “La Guerra Falsa,” for the world to see.
Celebrating Popular Struggle in Cauca, Colombia
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Colombia Students talk about sexual diversity
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PUDUCHERRY: K Sheethal, the transgender from Puducherry who became the first person to be enrolled as a member of the third gender under the Unique Identification Number project, is elated that a government agency has finally recognised the community's gender status.
"The inclusion of third gender in census enumeration is the result of an untiring struggle. The members of the transgender community are not considered for any of the official documents like voters' identity cards and ration cards. We have been discriminated against by others. We had lost our identity and had no place to stay," 33-year-old Sheethal told TOI.
So far, members of the marginalized transgender community were being categorized as either male or female for administrative convenience' by all government agencies. Sheethal became the first transgender in the country to be enrolled as a member of the third gender when the Unique Identification Number project was launched in the Union territory on January 24 this year. Sheethal, formerly known as K Ganesh alias Rajesh, is also the president of Sahodaran', a community-based organization which has launched a male sexual health project in Puducherry. K Dharshini (26), another member of the organization, was enrolled next. MORE
Mobility International USA (MIUSA) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to empower people with disabilities around the world to achieve their human rights through international exchange and international development. As part of their 30th anniversary celebration, they created this "Loud, Proud and Passionate!" video. They filmed it during their 5th International Women's Institute on Leadership and Disability (WILD) - here's how they describe it:Signing and singing with passion in Arabic, Spanish and English, 54 disabled women activists from 43 countries celebrate the achievements, pride and solidarity of women with disabilities around the world. These leaders are revolutionizing the status of women and girls worldwide. MORE
2009 article:Women with disabilities in Bangladesh marching forward
Women with disabilities (WWD) have been marching forward with capabilities and commendable role in different arenas of development in Bangladesh. They are gaining prominence day by day and lighting the way forward.
Ranjana selected as International Bridge Builder of Harvard University
Umme Kulsum Ranjana, has been prestigiously selected as one among ten International BridgeBuilders of Harvard University for her contribution in organizing women with disabilities’ rights movement in Bangladesh. Ranjana is a woman with physical disability and the President of Protibondhi Narider Jatio Parishad (National Council of Disabled Women-NCDW) a nation-wide network of organizations working with the women with disabilities in Bangladesh. Now Ranjona is participating in the International Conference of Bridge Builders at Harvard University, USA to deliver her speech on Experiences of Mobilizing Women with Disabilities in Rural Bangladesh held on 6-10 April 2009. Ranjona is the first Bangladeshi woman who has been selected for this award.
Masuma’s 13th Solo Painting Exhibition is going on
13th Solo Painting Exhibition ‘My Dream’ of Masuma Khan started at Gallery Zoom of Alliance Francaise de Dhaka on 3April 2009 and will continue until 17 April 2009. Masuma Khan, a woman with severe physical disability, who has been recognized as a renowned painter in Bangladesh. She started painting at her very childhood at the age of three. Previously she was awarded President’s Medal as a talented child artist; Jaycees Prize; Anonna Award as the recognition of one among ten best women personalities in Bangladesh. Masuma got her graduation degree from the Institute of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka.MORE
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