Friday, December 23, 2016

The Ones Most Likely to Care About Who Uses Women's Restrooms Aren't Women

“Most men think they (transgender people) should use the bathroom assigned to the gender they were born as,” a CBS News poll suggested in May, “while women tend to favor letting transgender people use the bathroom of the gender they identify as.”
Although there is no proof that letting trans people use the lavatory of their choice increases crime, bathroom traditionalists, so to speak, often repeat some version of this fear.

As usual, men who place themselves on top of the hierarchy believe that they know more about lower groups than the lower groups know about themselves, and don't listen to women. And these men don't have a problem forcing a hierarchy on someone else, this time the sexual orientation hierarchy. Hierarchical men don't care what anyone else thinks. What is important to them is building and maintaining hierarchies.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Tegan and Sara Foundation for LGBTQ Girls and Women

The indie-pop sister duo of Tegan and Sara have announced that they have launched the Tegan and Sara Foundation in an effort to fight for economic justice, health and representation for LGBTQ girls and women. 

"LGBTQ women are experiencing disproportionately high levels of poverty, health issues and inequality. LGBTQ women of color, especially transgender women often experience these issues even more severely due to racism and transphobia. Today, given the state of politics in the United States, we must continue to unite and fight for our rights and against all forms of oppression."

At a time when the people would want to build hierarchies seem crazy and out of control, we can be encouraged by positive actions too, along with attacking the efforts of the hierarchy conservators.

FADA – Hierarchy Conservators Want Everyone to Be Like Them – Again

Apparently, Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah plan to reintroduce an embattled bill that barely gained a House hearing in 2015. Their First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) has a much better chance with a hierarchy-supporting Republican party controlled House,  and hierarchy-champion Donald Trump as President.

According to NBC News, "FADA would prohibit the federal government from taking "discriminatory action" against any business or person that discriminates against LGBTQ people. The act distinctly aims to protect the right of all entities to refuse service to LGBTQ people based on two sets of beliefs: "(1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage."

Is this 2017,  almost, or is this the 1950's when hierarchies were so strong that most people would think this makes sense? As usual, those who put themselves on top of a hierarchy believe their ideas are so superior that everyone else must want or need to be like them.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Want to Live Longer – Get a Female Doctor

In an article on NPR entitled, "Patients Cared for by Female Doctors Fare Better Than Those Treated by Men," Harvard researchers found that that female doctors get better results than male doctors who care for elderly hospitalized patients. As compared to men, patients cared for by women were less likely to die or return to the hospital after discharge.

The study's authors estimate "that approximately 32,000 fewer patients would die if male physicians could achieve the same outcomes as female physicians every year." An editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association about the study urges the medical profession to remedy the gender disparities in care and the pay gap that favors male physicians over women.

Women grow up in the lower group of at least the gender hierarchy, and know what it is like not to be listened to and acknowledged. Perhaps, as in so many other ways, the advantages of honoring the unique knowledge and wisdom of people in lower groups would improve our society immensely.

Friday, December 16, 2016

D.C. High School Bands - No to Trump Inaguration

We who do not wish our country to go backwards to rebecoming a hierarchy-rich society are all planning what we can to do lessen the bleeding from Donald Trump's presidency.

High school bands in Washington D.C. are doing what they can.

“At least one D.C. public school marching band has participated in the past five inaugural parades, but none applied for consideration this year,” according to NBC4.  “A D.C. Public Schools spokeswoman said she was not aware of any band in the district that had applied to participate in President-elect Donald Trump’s inaugural parade Jan. 20.”

Good for them.

Who's Who of Homophobia - Trump's Cabinet

According to The Boston Globe, Donald Trump's cabinet includes the who's who of homophobia. This despite Trump's campaign statement that he would be "better for the gay community" than Hillary Clinton.

Trump’s transition team is led by Vice President-elect Mike Pence — the Indiana governor with a history of antigay positions and actions. Family Research Council's Tony helped write the GOP platform considered among the most anti-LGBT GOP platforms in history (and which promotes so-called “reparative therapy”). Ken Blackwell, former Ohio secretary of state and FRC senior fellow, was named domestic policy chair of the Trump transition team. Blackwell has compared homosexuality to arson and kleptomania. Trump named as his education secretary nominee Michigan billionaire Betsy DeVos, whose family’s foundation has given millions of dollars to groups working against LGBT equality. Trump’s choice for health and human services secretary is Georgia GOP congressman, 

Tom Price, who voted to ban marriage equality in the US Constitution. Trump’s choice for attorney general is staunchly anti-LGBT Alabama US senator Jeff Sessions, who has consistently had a score of zero from the Human Rights Campaign.South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, chosen as ambassador to the UN, has spoken out strongly against marriage equality. Kansas congressman Mike Pompeo, named by Trump as his CIA director nominee, supported a bill allowing the federal definition of marriage to be superseded by a state definition. And Trump’s choice of chief of staff, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, oversaw the anti-LGBT platform hammered out at the 2016 party convention.

Are all those people who voted for Trump really that hateful? Or were they so clueless that they ignored Trump/Pence stands on so many hierarchies, including sexual orientation. What will they think when the policies of Trump and Pence start to affect them?

Friday, December 9, 2016

Chicago Bulls Game – Gay Man Proposes and He Says Yes

At center court during the Chicago Bulls’ game against the San Antonio Spurs last before last, Jake Conrad popped the question to his boyfriend Michael Holtzman. This is thought to be the first gay couple to become engaged at an NBA game.

“At the Chicago Bulls game vs. the San Antonio Spurs on December 8, the Bulls worked with Jake Conrad to set up an in-game proposal for his partner, Michael Holtzman. Michael has been a lifelong Bulls fan and watches every game. After he once told Jake that his dream was to go to a Bulls game, Jake knew he wanted to propose to Michael at a game to show him how committed he is to making Michael’s dreams come true."

As we will be challenged during the Trump administration to keep the gains we have made, we have to remember that there are plenty of Americans all over our country from all walks of life who are committed to what we believe in.

Rep. Jim Buchy – Insisting on Remaining Clueless at the Top in Ohio

Clueless at the top, and insisting on staying there.

Rep. Jim Buchy, a Republican member of the Ohio House of Representatives, is the co-sponsor of the Ohio bill that could become one of the most restrictive ever. The bill restricts abortion as soon as a heartbeat can be heard, which can occur as early as six weeks into pregnancy. The measure does not include any exceptions for rape or incest, and many women do not even know they are pregnant until more than six weeks into a pregnancy.

But as one of the bill’s strongest proponents, he says that he has “never even thought about” why women might want to get abortions in the first place.

“Well, there’s probably a lot of reasons— I’m not a woman,” he says, chuckling. “I’m thinking now if I’m a woman why would I want to get... Some of it has to do with economics. A lot of it has to do with economics. I don’t know. I’ve never ― It’s a question I’ve never even thought about.

In other words, people like him on the top think they know what is best for everyone else, and they don't have to listen to the people for whom they make decisions.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Kids with Down Syndrome Promote Products

At at time when we can fear that honoring diversity will never be the same in the United States, we can take heart that changes are occurring. We have come along way since the time that children with special needs were taken from their parents and put into institutions for life.

In an original article in the New York Times, Jeanne Bonner reports that children with Down Syndrome are becoming hired more by retailers and consumer products groups to promote products.

Millennials “expect to see a broad cross-section of families, couples and individuals, including people who are developmentally disabled as a matter of truthfulness,” said Bob Witeck, a former executive with the public relations firm Hill & Knowlton and a communications strategist in Washington, D.C., who tracks ad spending.

“The consumer mindset has really changed. Millennials are so in tune with causes," says Teresa Gonzalez Ruiz, vice president for brand marketing at Fisher-Price.

Hierarchies do continue to break down, and we will not return to the 1950's and before if we join together under one banner: No more hierarchies.

Betsy DeVos from a Public School Teacher Perspective

People in the trenches of the hierarchy certainly have a clearer view than those at the top, who try cluelessly to rain down their ideas on everyone else, using their resources to promote the disparity that keeps them on top. From an opinion piece by Patrick Kearney in the Huffington Post, hierarchies are again so predictable.

Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump's opinion of who can do a good job as Secretary of Education, has never attended public school or had children who attended public school, as discussed from a public teachers' perspective.

"I suppose we also need to address the elephant in the room. We are a little freaked out by your nomination to be Secretary of Education. You aren’t an educator. You haven’t ever attended or sent your children to a public school, yet you seem to have some pretty strong opinions about them. You don’t seem to have been involved in the study of curriculum or school standards. What you have done is lobby (and spend millions of dollars of your own money in advocacy) for taxpayer dollars to go to unregulated for-profit charter schools. As teachers we like to look at data. Interestingly, the data from Michigan (where you have been able to use your wealth to influence a lot of education policy) would suggest that the charter schools you lobby for aren’t really achieving any better than their public counterparts."

Donald Trump – Bringing Muslims and Jews Together

All of us who are fighting to end hierarchies must come together to realize we are all fighting the same enemy - those who want hierarchies to continue, no matter who is on top and who is in the lower groups.

As an example to the rest of us as we cross barriers that might have seemed before insurmountable, American Muslims and Jews are banding together in a new alliance. Jolted by a string of hate crimes and the election of Donald Trump, divisions are being put aside for now to join forces to resist what might lie ahead.

Nearly 500 Muslim and Jewish women, many wearing head scarves and skullcaps, gathered last Sunday at Drew University in Madison, N.J., in what organizers said was the largest such meeting ever held in the United States. “It’s the Trump effect,” said Imam Abdullah Antepli, the chief representative on Muslim affairs at Duke University, who attended the women’s conference with his wife. “I see the Muslim community even more eager to reach out and to put aside the grievances of the past.”

Talk Clearly about What is Reality – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I take a college class three times a year to broaden my horizons and keep the brain in gear. In a Women's Literature class I took last year, I learned of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie from a Ted Talk entitled, "The Danger of a Single Story." She tells it clearly just like it is, discussing the effects of putting one person's story on top of the hierarchy as more important than another.

We are now at a time in the history of the United States when a single story of Donald Trump could impact what our country has stood for historically. According to Adichie, "Now is the time to counter lies with facts, repeatedly and unflaggingly, while also proclaiming the greater truths: of our equal humanity, of decency, of compassion. Every precious ideal must be reiterated, every obvious argument made, because an ugly idea left unchallenged begins to turn the color of normal. It does not have to be like this."

"Now is the time to refuse the blurring of memory. Each mention of “gridlock” under Obama must be wrought in truth: that “gridlock” was a deliberate and systematic refusal of the Republican Congress to work with him. Now is the time to call things what they actually are, because language can illuminate truth as much as it can obfuscate it. Now is the time to forge new words. “Alt-right” is benign. “White-supremacist right” is more accurate."

Barbara Kingsolver: Lock Arms with the Ones Who Are With Us

Barbara Kingsolver, American novelist, essayist and poet, reminds us that the time is to become vigilant in our commitment to keep the rights that we have worked so hard to achieve, and join hands in doing so.
She says, "Losses are coming at us in these areas: freedom of speech and the press; women’s reproductive rights; affordable healthcare; security for immigrants and Muslims; racial and LGBTQ civil rights; environmental protection; scientific research and education; international cooperation on limiting climate change; international cooperation on anything; any restraints on who may possess firearms; restraint on the upper-class wealth accumulation that’s gutting our middle class; limits on corporate influence over our laws. That’s the opening volley."
We have achieved gains in so many individual hierarchies, but obviously, there are people out there who would take them away. We must unite together in a common language, a common goal, and act like we are one force. Which side are you on – building hierarchies or breaking them down. That is the question.
She continues, "We keep our commitments to fairness in front of the legislators who oppose us, lock arms with the ones who are with us, and in the words of Congressman John Lewis,  prepare to get ourselves in some good trouble. Every soul willing to do that is part of our team...There’s safety in numbers, but only if we count ourselves out loud."

Thursday, December 1, 2016

San Francisco Reaffirms Its Values Following Trump Election

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has passed a resolution, introduced by the board president London Breed, that reaffirms the values of the city. The resolution was passed in response to the election on Donald Trump.

Topics include human rights, freedom of religion, LGBT rights, women's rights, freedom from assault, climate change, transportation, and health care.

We all need to come together to protect the rights we have won over the last 240 years from the likes of Donald Trump and his minions.