“I wouldn’t mind having a mustache to twirl,” says S.E. Smith, who likes to be referred to with the pronoun “ou” instead of she or he and her or him – and prefers seeing ou name in lowercase.
As SF Gate reports, “Smith was female-assigned at birth but doesn’t like to be viewed as a woman. But “male” doesn’t fit either. Smith identifies as “genderqueer,” a word whose definition lacks consensus, but is broadly described as someone who “does not subscribe to conventional gender distinctions but identifies with neither, both or a combination of male and female genders.”
“What does genderqueer look like? To Smith, who is 29 and divides time between Fort Bragg and Berkeley, expressing ou gender can mean slicking ou hair back, binding ou chest and sliding into a suit. And it can mean “dressing up in floofy things and heels,” as ou wrote for the website xoJane, where ou works as its social justice editor.
“In that article, Smith wrote that ou “felt a growing sense of wrongness” starting in elementary school, when sent out to play with girls. “I wanted to be with the boys; I wanted to be a boy – but not exactly.” Smith’s eureka moment struck in college when ou got in with a crowd of transgender people. “It’s OK not to be a girl or a boy, there’s a word for that. You’re genderqueer,” said a friend. Continue reading “Non-binary gender roles”
Fox News attacked a bill in California to allow transgender students equal access to school facilities and programs, inappropriately calling the measure a “bathroom bill” and interviewing a notorious anti-LGBT activist to suggest that students will use the law to take advantage of members of the opposite sex, reports MediaMatters
“During the August 9 edition of Happening Now, Fox News reporter Adam Housley discussed a California bill that would require public schools to allow transgender students to choose which school teams they wish to join based on their gender identity. The bill would also allow transgender students to use restrooms and facilities that match their gender identity.
‘Throughout the segment, Fox’s chyron inaccurately identified the measure as a “bathroom bill,” while Housley echoed right-wing fears that the measure might lead to inappropriate behavior between students: The segment also featured a statement from Brad Dacus – the president of the notoriously anti-LGBT Pacific Justice Institute – who warned that the bill “grotesquely violates the privacy rights and security interests and needs of students.”
“Fox’s framing of the measure as a “bathroom bill” is a shameless attempt to prop up the right-wing myth that transgender protections will be exploited by sex offenders who want to infiltrate opposite sex bathrooms. In reality, the measure would merely affirm current law which prohibits California public schools from discriminating against transgender students. Allowing access to appropriate facilities and participation on school teams is an important step to deal with the high rates of bullying and harassment faced by transgender students. As a recent decision by the Colorado Rights Division stated, refusing this kind of access to transgender students “creates an environment that is objectively and subjectively hostile, intimidating, or offensive.” Continue reading “Transphobia on Fox”
The Economist gave the United States a whole weekend to mourn the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre before telling the entire nation to suck it up. “Those of us who view the events remotely … unless we start to evince a newfound appetite for gun-control measures to prevent future mass slayings, are doing little more than displaying and enjoying our own exalted strickenness,” writes one M.S. “This is an activity at which we, as a culture, excel.”
Why, thanks, anonymous writer, for telling an entire nation its feelings are unproductive. I am reminded of Eddie Izzard’s bit about St. Paul’s letters to the Corinthians—and the Corinthians’ response: “Dear Paul, fuck off. Who are you? Why do you keep sending us letters? You arrogant bastard, writing a letter to an entire city! What do you want us to do, put this on a board or something? Just fuck off!… Love and kisses, The Corinthians.”
On the other end of the spectrum, there was the Washington Post‘s Style section, which, earlier this week, asked its arts critics to “meditate on the role of the arts in coping with grief” and “share works that have resonated with them in such times.” Theodor Adorno once said that poetry after Auschwitz was barbaric. The Post appears to be asking its critics to hand out artworks as antidepressants. Continue reading “Art and tragic events”
Television is the main place Americans say they turn to for news about current events (55%), leading the Internet, at 21%. Nine percent say newspapers or other print publications are their main news source, followed by radio, at 6%, reports Gallup.
“These results are based on a Gallup poll of 2,048 national adults conducted June 20-24, in which Americans were asked to say, unaided, what they consider to be their main source of news about U.S. and global events.
“More than half the references to television are general, with 26% simply saying they watch television or TV news, 4% saying they watch local TV news, and 2% saying they watch the “evening news.” The two leading 24-hour cable news channels — Fox News and CNN — are named by 8% and 7%, respectively. However, no other specific channel — including MSNBC, PBS, BBC, and all of the U.S. broadcast networks that once dominated the news landscape — is mentioned by more than 1% of Americans.
“The vast majority of those citing the Internet — 18% of all Americans — either mention the Internet generally or say they get their news “online.” Two percent identify Facebook, Twitter, or social media as their source, while 1% mention a specific online news site. The New York Times and Wall Street Journal are each named by 1% of Americans — the only specific print publications to earn as much as 1% in the poll. As a measure of U.S. adults’ perception of their primary news source, the question provides insights into the importance of various types of media and news outlets as information sources to the public. It is not meant to indicate the total reach each news outlet has in the population, nor do the results necessarily correspond with television ratings data. Continue reading “Most still get news from television”
The public paid limited attention to last week’s congressional hearings on Benghazi, reports the Pew organization. “Fewer than half (44%) of Americans say they are following the hearings very or fairly closely, virtually unchanged from late January when Hillary Clinton testified. Last October, 61% said they were following the early stages of the investigation at least fairly closely.
“The national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted May 9-12 among 1,000 adults, finds that Americans are deeply split over how both the administration and congressional Republicans are handling the situation. Four-in-ten (40%) say the Obama administration has generally been dishonest when it comes to providing information about the Benghazi attack, but 37% say they have been generally honest. And when it comes to the GOP-led investigation, 36% say Republicans have gone too far in the hearings, while 34% say they have handled them appropriately.
“Not surprisingly, these reactions divide cleanly along partisan lines. Among Republicans, 70% say the Obama administration has been dishonest and 65% say the hearings have been handled appropriately. Among Democrats, 60% say the hearings have gone too far, and 62% say the administration has been honest. Continue reading “Americans care little about Benghazi”
With shorter stories and scarce coverage of politics and government, local television newscasts in the United States, like local newspapers before them, are suffering from “shrinking pains,” according to the Pew Research Center.
The diagnosis comes in the center’s 10th annual State of the News Media report, which will be published on Monday. The New York Times reports that “the report, covering 2012, describes cutbacks in the reporting ranks of newspapers and television networks and a surge in efforts by politicians, corporations and others to tell their own stories.
“This adds up to a news industry that is more undermanned and unprepared to uncover stories, dig deep into emerging ones or to question information put into its hands,” the report’s main author, Amy Mitchell, wrote in an introduction. Continue reading “Local news going the way of print”
Picking up on a theme popularized by Al Gore, President Obama recently criticized media journalism for
promoting an “assault on reason” and for contributing to a divided culture.
“The U.S. news media typically applies hackneyed or partisan templates to political issues, often distorting rather than informing the public debate,” reports GlobalResearch:
“President Barack Obama has become the latest politician to put his toe in the raging waters of the media debate, with some mild observations about the powerful role that media outlets play in reporting – and often distorting – political events.
In an interview with The New Republic, Obama stated the obvious: ‘One of the biggest factors is going to be how the media shapes debates Continue reading “Obama points to assault on reason”
It’s no big secret that what people think has a lot to do with what they watch and read. While ideologies and other belief systems also underlie public opinion, there is no denying the role of “news” in shaping contemporary worldviews – sometimes in direct opposition to empirical data.
For example, while many parents now fear sending junior off to school each morning, the odds of a child being shot in Sandy Hook fashion stand at less than one in a million, as it has for decades. If anything, schools recently have been getting safer.
After reaching a high of 63 deaths in the 2006-2007 school year, the number of people killed in “school-associated” incidents dropped to 33 in 2009-2010 – the lowest in two decades, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Continue reading “What made the news”
An American church is promising gay men they will be cured of their homosexuality if they stroke horses, reports a story today in GayStarNews.
“The Cowboy Church of Virginia, led by chief pastor Raymond Bell, believes homosexuality and other ‘addictions’ can be cured by Equine Assisted Psychotherapy.
“Horse therapy, in the right hands, can be used to help overcome fears, develop communication skills, and is generally beneficial to mental health.
But Bell says the horses in his church, a cowboy ranch in the south, are part of teaching men to stop being gay and encourage them to be more masculine.‘EAP can help any person who is living the homosexual lifestyle or involved in it in anyway,’ he told Gay Star News.‘The first common misconception is that homosexuality is genetic, or hereditary, or as some say “born this way”. Continue reading “Horse sense”
Hundreds of gun-toting residents in New York’s Westchester and Rockland counties were surprised to find their names and addresses listed on a map posted by The Journal News on Sunday.
Users can click any dot on the map to see which of their neighbors has a handgun or pistol permit. As reported on ABCNews Online,
“The map sparked more than 500 comments from readers within a day of its appearance on the website, many of them voicing outrage at the paper’s decision to make the information public. Continue reading “Newspaper publishes names of gun owners”
“A leading expert on addictions says there still remains a ‘tremendous misunderstanding’ about the problem in our society,” reports the Chatham Daily News in a story about psychiatrist Gabor Mate.
“People see addictions as some lifestyle choice that somebody makes,” but “Nobody wakes up and says, ‘My ambition is to become an addict,'” say Mate. A keynote speaker this week at the Chatham-Kent Addictions Awareness Conference, Mate said “addiction is a response to suffering and most people who are severely addicted were traumatized as children. As a result, he said, people in this situation have pain they try to soothe with drugs.”
Continue reading “Addiction and identity”
It looks like public nudity is a thing of the past in San Francisco. SF Gate today reported that “Nudists will need to cover up or limit where they show their bare buns after the Board of Supervisors voted 6-5 to pass a ban on public nudity.
“Supervisors Jane Kim, John Avalos, Eric Mar, Christina Olague and David Campos voted to oppose the ban. Campos argued that police resources could better be spent fighting violent crime, instead of tracking down naked men roaming the streets. Other supervisors argued the ban seemed to infringe on people’s right to express themselves and was merely a problem in a Castro that didn’t need a citywide ban.
“The ban still requires a second vote by the board and approval by the mayor, but if all happens as expected, the ban could go into effect Feb. 1.”