Posts Tagged ‘suggestions for change

27
Feb
14

This post started with a post on Facebook of a picture of men. Which led to a Google search of “real women have curves”. Let me just say, it was generally nauseating. That being stated, said search linked me to this (http://recognizablefruits.blogspot.com/) blog. Same blog then led to this post. Back story now complete, let the games begin…

This young woman has a fabulous point; a point I once thought Feminism had gotten beyond. I like to pretend in my head that the bulk of Feminism is truly and honestly rooted in a desire for equality; the movement of women and men to place all people, regardless of sex, gender, race, socioeconomic status, disability, or age on the same equal footing. I sometimes have this delusion that the bulk of Feminism (both within and outside of academia) is capable of celebrating our similarities, while still recognizing our differences. I did state that these are delusions though, didn’t I?

In reality, there are young women who are degraded because obese is the new beautiful. Of course, this isn’t actually new. There have been times throughout history where thin is celebrated and times when heavy is desirable, but with mass media being what it is, there is a stark division between the ‘skinny chicks’ and the ‘fat girls’. In reality, women want more rights in birth control, but to the removal of men’s (not taking sides, simply stating fact). In reality, first world problems of body image overshadow the problems of women that are unable to feed their families or provide even the most basic medical care for their children. In reality, women are being degraded for staying home with their children; and so are men. Where is Feminism on these issues?
Many Feminists are doing the degrading of the ‘skinny chicks’ while popular media continues to show the very thin as an ideal. Truth? There is a spectrum of what constitutes beautiful. To each his own, and if someone is healthy, their body shape is nobody else’s business.
The term ‘reproductive rights’ in Feminism (on the whole) refers only to women. I get that this is a touchy subject. I get that by giving men choice, it reduces the choice of women. I completely understand that women are not incubators for the singular purpose of carrying children. BUT. If Feminism is truly about equality, we must, MUST recognize that expanding women’s reproductive rights diminishes those of men. We must also recognize that men have VERY limited options in birth control. Men have very few choices, while they abound for women. Don’t get me wrong, it is WONDERFUL that women have these choices, but what about men? Condoms, sterilization, abstinence. That’s it, folks. That’s all they have. This is not equality.

While there are many Feminists who acknowledge the problems facing women over seas, suggesting that women in India, the Middle East, and other conservative cultures just demand that men use condoms to prevent disease is, well, stupid. Yeah. I said it. A bunch of middle class white girls telling grown women to threaten their own lives, when same white girls have no real understanding of the implications that request holds, infuriates me. Really.

Last but not least in this rant, why must Feminists degrade women who choose to stay home with their children? Granted, there are many Feminists who support men staying home, but others who (while they may support it ideologically) will make fun of or degrade the ACTUAL men they know that stay home. Really, though, while I think we need to shift away from this ridiculous essentialism that only women can nurture, at this exact second, it is the first of these two that bothers me the most. ‘The Problem with No Name’ was supposed to be about choice. The second wave was supposed to be about opportunity. Why must Feminism step back to the 80’s ‘mommy wars’? If a woman wants to take advantage of her birth control options, have sex, not get married, and have a career; GREAT FOR HER! If a woman wants to remain abstinent until marriage (or at least monogamous), then have multiple children, and stay at home with those children; GREAT FOR HER! Of course, there is a great deal of variation between the two, but none of those variants are attacked by Feminism (and Feminists, themselves) with the same vehemence that is aimed toward chastity, and the nuclear family. If that is a woman’s choice, that choice should be equally supported and celebrated.

27
Mar
13

Ups, downs, and hard pills

Today has been a day of ups and downs. Frustration at those who would remain silent because of selfishness, joy over those willing to risk everything to protect others.

Today, Sonya Sotomayor took a stand at the SCOTUS. She stated, on official record, that sexual orientation should be a protected class. She stated that prejudice against anyone based on their orientation is discriminatory and should be illegal. She managed to get the attorney, the very man charged with defending Prop 8, that this was so. On record. That was a certain up.

Today I worked for hours, calling here there and yonder (yes, I said yonder) to help my state and city provide valuable information on fair housing, preventing discrimination, and helping others. I managed to chase down new contacts to help me in that mission. Another certain up.

Today, I saw an amazing outpouring of support for love. I saw dozens myself, and evidence of millions of others who stand on the side of love. BIG up.

I watched a friend stand up and speak, asking those who have refused to protect her in the past to do so now. I watched as those same people, who have sometimes been difficult, support her and thank her for her words. Yet another WONDERFUL up.

I watched legislators in my state stand up for the civil rights of others, their friends, family, and loved ones. I watched as they took an unpopular stand to support civil equality in a place that often works to remove it. And that was one more up.

Sadly, I also watched as angry men screamed. I watched as people claiming to love God and each other, blatantly use that same name to support and legalize hate. I watched as an elected official said he refused the will of others and that he, as a “God fearing Christian” would do only God’s will. That children are being gunned down in schools because God has been removed from them. That he would vote “God’s will! NOT that of my left wing liberal counterparts”. That would be a down.

I see the progress, but I see the hate. Sometimes the hate is just such a hard pill to swallow. I think I just won’t.

02
Mar
13

Fighting the good fight

The following speech was presented on the steps of the capital building in Frankfort, KY during a rally for reproductive rights and civil equality.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her.

He has usurped the prerogative of Jehovah himself, claiming it as his right to assign for her a sphere of action, when that belongs to her conscience and to her God.”

These words were spoken by Elisabeth Catie Stanton July, 19th 1848. Women and men gathered in Seneca Falls, NY where the “Declaration of Sentiments” (a document demanding equal treatment and citizenship for women) was drafted and put forth to the government of these United States. We stand here now, almost 165 year later, still fighting for many of those rights.

Kentucky Senate bill 4 requires that a physician (or a licensed designee thereof) be physically present with a patient at the time of consent. This holds ramifications for women who require distant travel for medical procedures that are already financially crushing.

Kentucky Senate bill 5 requires that all women seeking to have “any part of an abortion performed” must first be subject to an invasive, transuterine ultrasound. In simple language, a woman who is attempting to responsibly deal with an unwanted pregnancy must also be subjected to having a large, uncomfortable instrument forced into her vaginal opening, then lay quietly while a doctor explains in detail about the fetus.

The consequence for doctors refusing this unethical requirement of an unneeded medical procedure is a Class D felony. A penalty that includes, among others, violent offenses and sex crimes. How very ironic, that to avoid these charges, a doctor must force a woman to engage in penetration by an artificial phallus. Nothing less than MANDATED RAPE!

Additionally, I feel it important to note that, of the eight senators cosponsoring this bill, only ONE is a woman. Seven, SEVEN men have put their names and weight behind a bill that does not affect THEM or THEIR bodies, but could affect thousands of women.

This is the reality, so many people (mostly legislators it would appear) think that abortion is easy. That it is a decision that women come to lightly and without reflection. This is NOT TRUE! Women come to this decision because they KNOW that, for whatever reason, they CAN NOT accept the financial responsibilities that pregnancy, birth, and upbringing carry. These women KNOW that they, for whatever reason, CAN NOT provide for the health and well being of a fetus, a baby, or a child. These women KNOW that, for whatever reason, it is in the best interest of ALL parties involved, to terminate a pregnancy.

Kentucky Senate bills 4 and 5 serve to prevent a woman from exercising the right to do what SHE KNOWS is best.

We stand here today, not only to speak for the rights of women to be free from the mandates of rape, but also to speak for the rights of our brothers, our sisters, our sons and our daughters, our friends and ourselves. For too long we have been expected to fight for the equality of our LGBTI family by going city to city, begging for equal treatment one commission or council at a time.

While I salute the leadership of Louisville, Lexington, Covington, and Vicco for trying to secure the equal rights of all of their citizens, it is time to bring equality to all Kentuckians. It is time that we no longer have to wonder if we have crossed the city boundaries and are now fair game to those who would see us left homeless, jobless, and afraid.

KY Senate Bill 28 extends the hands of equality across the Commonwealth. While it does not prevent prejudice, it does prevent discrimination. It lets ALL Kentuckians see that our Commonwealth and its legislators recognize all of us as people FIRST and demands that others do the same. KY Senate Bill 28 shows our YOUTH that, even though we sometimes have to fight for is, it does, in fact GET BETTER!

We stand here today at OUR Capital in common cause. That our rights as individuals not be denied by the majority or by the privileged. We are all here today to stand up and to BE COUNTED!

22
Jun
12

Identifying with the other

So, recent comments on my intersex post have led me to feel the need to write another post. Hooray for you! (sarcasm)

The discussion (for those who don’t want to read all the comments) is about identifying with the other. Wanting to be the other to justify why a person feels the way they do, the other not understanding why anyone would desire to be that other, feeling they don’t understand what being other entails. Thus, I’m going to lay it all out there…

It seems many trans individuals want to have a label so that they understand WHY they feel like their parts don’t match what they feel in their hearts and minds. Having a diagnosis that explains why stuff doesn’t match up. OK. I get that. I get that it is difficult to deal with the internal cognitive dissonance that comes with the external incongruence. It makes complete sense.

The reality, though, is that for all the similarities between trans and intersex (having to deal with stupid doctors, a medical community who rarely understands the needs of the individual when it comes to both the internal and external organs, etc) the differences are ignored. Intersex people do not WANT their genitals to match the dichotomy. They do not wish to be shoved in a pigeon holed description of what sex and gender are to the majority of non-intersex people. They want to live as they are (or were before being hacked upon by some self important asshole).

Like trans people, intersex people want to be able to use the public restroom without fear of retribution. But that fear is based solely on the structure which dictates what is too small or too big. They want to go through their day and not have to hear a joke about how much size matters, that someone needs to ‘grow a pair,’ or that a man isn’t a man if his penis is ‘too small.’ They want to have their clitoris be loved as it is. Not have a mate turned off because she is too big to be a woman. They want to live life, not having to wonder how things might have been, had they not been reassigned without their permission and without their parents being pushed to have it done (if they were consulted at all). They want to hear someone speak of female genital mutilation, knowing it wasn’t done to themselves, ripped apart because some stupid doctor with a tape measure could see her parts when the doctor felt it shouldn’t be seen. They want to know that their size really doesn’t matter, despite what the jokes and snide comments say.

I want it understood…I am NOT saying that the intersex road is harder than the trans. They are both two very difficult rows to hoe. But I think trans people sometimes underestimate the daily struggles of living in a world where, the only way a person can be judged of their full worth, is by what is or is not in their pants.

20
Jun
12

intersex is NOT a disease

Claim: That is an opinion and I can accept that is where you stand and you have the choice to hold that view if you wish.

The words sex and gender have often been skewed to indicate that these are entirely determined by culture. They are not. They are however a combination of cultural and individual experience and the genetics with which a person was born. Such fallacies are implemented due to the poor research and misleading publications, not of a social psychologist, as this photo suggests, but rather by those of a psychoendocrinologist who developed these theories (Dr. John Money).

We, as animals, do not have a gender, but as social creatures we do. This statement in the picture, however is contradictory to the statement above it which states that gender is biological in nature.
Nouns do have gender, as do pronouns (for the most part), however it is very ethnocentric to make said statement about all languages, as many have gender in items such as desks, pencils, chairs, etc. Secondly, this statement is also stated quite poorly as ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ are not in fact nouns, but adjectives.

To say that XX, XXY, XYY, and the myriad of other variations are ‘deformations’ is both condescending and purposefully inflammatory. Green eyes are a ‘deformation’, as are many other characteristics that are easily seen about any individual’s appearance. The assumption that any of these variations are believed to be newly discovered is, at best, misguided. XX and XY, while being the most commonly occurring genetic variations, however the explanation that follows is incorrect. The XXX, XXY, and XYY variations do not occur due to random mutation of a normal gene. They are, in fact, genes of their own consistency, that is to say they are heritable. Also, to equate said variations of intersex with Down’s Syndrome is incorrect. Those individual with Down’s are most often infertile, and when not, Down’s is not heritable. Additionally, there are many other types of intersex variation that do not include the genetic variations listed above. Some of those are random mutations, yes, but mutation does not equal deformity, only difference.

‘Hermaphrodite’ is a medical term that describes none of the three intersex variations listed above in the picture. The terminology here is very off, which would indicate that the individual who created it is not informed on the correct terminology. Hermaphrodism refers only to individuals who have BOTH male and female primary or secondary sex characteristics and does NOT include those of the ambiguous variations.

99% of XY women do not reach puberty? That statistic is blatently false. I’m not exactly sure how many of them do, as that would actually be a suicide or accident statistic, but the vast majority do in fact reach puberty, but because pubertal onset means an increase in both estrogen and testosterone production, the secondary sex characteristics can be either male, female, or both, depending on the individual. Secondly, the bad grammar here again diminishes the accuracy of this picture (more taller).

“Take the brain that occurs the most” doesn’t even make sense, see comment above. The male brain has no different ‘parts’ than the female brain. This entire section makes no sense whatsoever if anyone is even remotely educated in brain structures. There are relatively few sex differences between male and female brains. The ones that do exist occur after pubertal onset, when there is a major change in growth and a pruning of unused neural pathways. Some suggest that the cultural norms of what females are expected to do vs males may be responsible for these differences, other evidence suggests that it may be hormonal. The reality is that they just aren’t sure. The only significant difference between the two is size. Women’s brains tend to be somewhat smaller, but have an increased number of gyri, thus increasing the overall surface area.

There is not a legitimate scientist (endocrine, geneticist, neural, or otherwise) who would use brain structure as a determining factor of sex. That is another blatantly false claim. Again, male and female brains do NOT have different parts.

Well, for all the arguing against any rights for intersex individuals, at least it makes a good argument for transsexuals. False, but convincing, nonetheless. In reality, what the photo to the left fails to indicate (as does the text to the right) is that the hypothalamic activity (and yes, that is what the photo to the left is actually showing) is changed with high levels of chronic stress. MTF transsexuals have an incredibly high level of chronic stress and, thus, would have the levels concurrent with those of females. A good example of this contractual error is the SIDS research of the early 20th century. Hundreds of thousands of children’s brains were irradiated to reduce the size of the hypothalamus because they thought that large ones caused SIDS to occur. In reality, they were only comparing upper class SIDS deaths to those of poor (and highly stressed) infants lost to other causes (such as starvation). Bad sample, much? Point being, this is being misattributed to sex differences when it is in fact a stress difference.

Cisgendered is an act of choosing not to PERFORM gender, not to identify that one is not present. Again, false. And why, exactly does this photo repeatedly compare intersex to physical illness or life threatening differences? Intersex is not life threatening (unless someone who is ignorant or misinformed beats someone to death).

And now, we get personal. Call it logical fallacy if you wish, but as I have offered fact alone up to this point, I really don’t give a shit. The last comment on the right would indicate that A. intersex individuals are sterile (which is true in the minority, but most are fertile) and that B. fertility should be somehow controlled, or intersex individuals should be somehow contained so as not to spread their ‘disease’. There is a reason that there is no source information on this photo. It promotes genocide, is inflammatory, and uses (at best) half truths to make a point for hurting people who deserve nothing but the same humane treatment every other person receives. How dare you, or anyone else imply that intersex people are any less people than you are. It is exactly this type of ignorance and half education that cause people to die at the hands of doctors who think they know how to hack a person’s genitals to pieces, or at the hands of ignorant bastards who believe that a person’s worth lies in his/her pants.

But I ask you now, what is it exactly that gives you the knowledge to back any of the statements made in this graphic? Is it a degree? Is it hours of research on intersex variations, articles about those variations, history of those? Weeks, months, and even years of talking to experts in the field or the individuals who are affected daily by the ignorance this graphic displays? Perhaps it is the daily experience of facing the challenges often associated with the intersex? Or maybe it is grant writing to the NIH to advance study of the consequences of this type of ignorance on the individuals who suffer it’s wrath? You see, it isn’t culture, biology, or society that cause intersex individuals problems. It isn’t their health, or their fertility, or their brain activity. It is the ignorance of people who refuse to do the work necessary to actually learn something other than the regurgitated (and false) shit that gets thrown at them by a grossly falsified graphic. THAT, is what needs to be fixed.

24
May
12

Did you really just say that?

I have had a great deal running around in my little head as of late but I am just now taking the time to put it down here.

Anywho…Here goes…

Why on Earth must people be more concerned with specific details of an individual’s genitals than they are about the consequences of actions? I am sure you probably, at the very least, just raised your eyebrows and uttered a mental “I’m sorry…What!?”

Seriously. This gets VERY old. When people hear of intersex variations, they want details. What makes a person intersex? Exactly what do you mean by atypical? Why don’t they just fix it? Aren’t there counselors for that? I’m going to address this as though I am actually talking to YOU, so please do not take offense if you are a person knowledgeable enough not to say stupid shit. OK, first I’m going to actually answer the questions, then I’m going to tell you what’s wrong with it, and lastly offer some better alternative responses.

1. “What makes a person intersex?”

Definition-Intersex is when a person’s genital development is atypical. In other words, their genetic makeup, their primary sex characteristics, or their secondary sex characteristics don’t line up, or are outside of two standard deviations from the average (note that I did not say “norm”).

What’s wrong-If someone is sitting there telling you that their child’s foot (which you can’t see) is different, but it is not a medical problem, do people say…”What makes is a foot different?”

Better option-Mind your own damned business and focus on the issue at hand.

2. “What exactly do you mean by atypical?”

Definition-Not typical.

What’s wrong-You are asking for specific details that are irrelevant and none of your business.

Better option-Mind your own damned business and focus on the issue at hand.

3. “Why don’t they just fix it?”

Answer-There are actually no firm answers for this one, but I’ll give it a try. Well, surgery implies that there is in fact something wrong, when there really is no medical issue present (in most cases).

What’s wrong- How dare ANYBODY have the nerve to suggest to a parent that they allow surgery on a child when said person had not heard of the variations until 5 minutes earlier? Secondly, most ‘corrective’ surgeries end up causing more harm and need for future surgeries. Third, would you give an infant rhinoplasty because you think their nose is too big or too small? I think not.

Better option-Mind your own damned business and focus on the issue at hand.

4. “Aren’t there counselors for that?”

Answer-No. Not really. While there may be some services provided for those who have received (or been victims of) surgical intervention, there is little to nothing for those who have not been butchered.

What’s wrong-Um…You just implied that intersex equates to mentally ill or in some other way disturbed. HELLO!? Do they have counselors for really small feet?

Better option-If you honestly feel that there may be a problem, offer your help to assist in finding a counselor who may be sensitive to the issue. Do not question the sanity of the endocrinologist (as a psychoendocrinologist is not a crazy endocrinologist), do not suggest that someone ask their PCP (because SURELY that hadn’t occurred to them yet), and please, please, PLEASE do not explain that your complete and utter lack of knowledge will somehow be a good use of your unlicensed, unqualified, and uninformed skills.

So, in short, consider yourself (although sarcastically) informed either on an issue of which you were previously unaware, or on the crap that comes out of people’s mouths.

23
Apr
12

harold* and the purple crayon (*names have been changed to protect from homophobes)

Bullying is a major problem, we know this. There are anti bullying initiatives, programs, and classes. Schools tell kids to report it. They tell them to stop it. They tell them not to do it. That’s great and all, but me think we are not getting to the crux of the situation. We are pulling at weeds, picking the leaves, and not touching the roots. Yeah, yeah…Enough metaphors. My point?

Parents. We spend millions of dollars per year trying to keep kids from beating the crap out of each other and making each other feel like shit, and yet parents are ignored or enlisted to help teach. This is where so, so, SO many of the teachers need to be the students. PARENTS teach hate. PARENTS teach homophobia. PARENTS teach bigotry. These are not traits that a small child picks up at the local bar on a Friday night. Four year olds don’t judge because someone’s crayon isn’t the right color.

I don’t share a great deal of personal information here, but today it seems necessary. My daughter was upset when I picked her up today because one of the other girls yelled at a little boy for having a purple crayon. My daughter had a blue one. She informed the other girl that if she could have a blue crayon, then the boy could have the purple one, then proceeded to retrieve said purple crayon from the trash (the other girl threw it away) and hugged the little boy.

I get that children have developmental milestones they reach at different times, including indication that ‘blue is for boys’ and (in this case) ‘purple is for girls’. Yeah. I get that. They gender divide. BUT belittling the little boy for the purple crayon? Throwing it away in the trash? THAT is NOT a milestone. That is hateful, mean, and spiteful. I don’t blame the little girl. She did not know that it was hateful, mean, or spiteful, she only knows that is something an adult in her life would never tolerate.