Another transgender teen suicide: the combined effects of depression and bullying

This time of year is often a sad one for transgender people. Family time hits people hard if they have been rejected by their families. And the reminders that it should be family time are unceasing.

But it can be hard even for those who have supportive families and friends. It was apparently too hard for a Wisconsin 14 year-old.

 photo Lexi-Lopez-Brandies_zps8e3ee025.jpgAlexis "Lexi" Lopez-Brandies recently asked to be called Landon. That makes this a tough article to write because all of the reports refer to the Horlick High School freshman as a girl and use female pronouns…so much so that when I heard that Lopez was transgender, I was unsure what direction of change Landon was pursuing.

William Horlick High School is in the city of Racine, Wisconsin, has about 2100 students and 200 faculty. And apparently none of them knew how the bullying Lopez was enduring was affecting him.

Landon took his own life last Sunday morning. Landon's parents don't lay all the blame at the feet of the bullying, saying that Landon also suffered from severe depression.

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For Honesty

"I support Blue Dogs against Republicans, year in and year out, because omigod Republicans -- given the low moral caliber of the Blue Dogs for which I'm voting year in and year out (and something which I well understood in 2004 when I voted for John Kerry), a Republican could cause great damage. Yet I still proudly proclaim that I'm a progressive/ liberal/ socialist/ blah blah blah."

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The World’s Oldest First Grader and the Decline of US Education

The First Grader is a moving film based on the story of Kimani Maruge, an 84-year-old Kikuyu man who attempted to enroll in a primary school to learn to read and write shortly after the government had announced that the education would be free to all.  He went to extraordinary lengths to be admitted, and it’s hardly a spoiler to say that he finally was.

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Q and A: Priceman

I have Joslyn Stevens's permission to repost this interview.

 

This week I conducted an interview with a progressive populist I follow on twitter, Priceman, whose annoying habit of using facts and common sense with a dose of in-your-face realness to prove his points tends to piss off democrats over at the “progressive” DailyKos. I feel it’s necessary to showcase often ignored voices representative of the people who speak truth to power and will continue to do so on a weekly basis.

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Gender Prison: Transgender Acceptance

The United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll has found that the majority of Americans are in favor of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act even if it includes protections for transgender people.

But predictably it has found that there is less support for inclusivity among older Americans.

Even among supporters of new legislation barring employers from treating workers differently because of their sexual orientation, the poll found many people were less sure overall about extending protections to transgendered people.

The numbers reflect a longtime split in the LGBT activist community, in which the "T" has often taken a backseat and seen less recognition and progress on its issues. That has started to shift among the younger generation of activists and gay-rights supporters, and the poll results show a narrower gap between support for gay protections and transgender protections among younger respondents to the poll.

The Senate passed inclusive ENDA last month, but it is deemed unlikely that it will even get a vote in the Republican controlled House…since Boehner considers it "frivolous".

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Sunday Train: A Vision for Rail in Sustainable 21st Century Transport

I'm flat out, finishing one and working on another of my two biggest projects for the end of the year ~ the one that I'm finishing has a drop dead deadline of Monday, but I'm hoping to finish it and send it off sometime late tonight ~ and grading and all of the other five-times-a-year term-end rush of work, so I don't have time to sit down for my normal most-of-Sunday-afternoon to compose a regular Sunday Train.

However, fear not. Instead of my regular Sunday Train, I am going to present a draft of a contribution I am working on for a longer white paper that involves the Steel Interstate investment that our country needs to be making in electrified, long-haul freight transport. Longer time readers of the Sunday Train may expect to see familiar themes covered in this draft.

If you have any comments, constructive criticism (or even, I guess, non-constructive criticism) I would be happy to hear it. And, of course, you may always raise any issue in Sustainable Energy and Transport that may come to your mind.

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We don't come to steal or destroy gender. We are here to liberate it.

The LATimes recently ran an article by Robin Abcarian in its L.A. Now section entitled Right wing frenzied over transgender students choosing bathroom.

Of course the target of all the hate is specifically the School Success and Opportunity Act, better known as AB 1266…and incidentally the state's transgender students.

The School Success and Opportunity Act, the first of its kind in the nation, did not sit well with California’s waning conservative Christian base, which has lately been in danger of becoming the political equivalent of the polar bear stranded on the ice floe.

--Abcarian

Now there's an interesting image.

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Gender Prison: Future Leaders

Two transgender children from British Columbia are suing for the right to be themselves. Family members of both Tracey Wilson and Harriette Cunningham have filed human rights complaints.

There is much video at the above link. Both families were featured in a segment of the Canadian television program 16 x 9 last Saturday.

If you go to view it all, please remember to come back and add to the discussion. :-)

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Sunday Train: Traveling to our deaths and the fatal Metro North derailment

Last Sunday Morning, the 5:45am from Poughkeepsie was running through the Bronx with 100-150 passengers aboard, when it sped through a 30mph speed limit curve at 82mph, derailed, over-turning four cars and killing four people.

This is a story with some differences in detail from the Spanish fatal derailment this summer, but one common feature: the lack of adequate Positive Train Control signaling on the corridor. In the Spanish case, project cost-shaving led to Positive Train Control signaling being installed on the new High Speed Rail corridor but not on connecting corridors that some hybrid services use to reach towns not directly on the HSR corridor. In the Spanish case, full PTC would not have been required to prevent the fatal accident: 'The Santiago Train Derailment Could Have Been Prevented with a Euro 6,000 beacon'. As later details emerged it became clear that if two analog "ATSFA' beacons had been replaced with three digital 'ATSFA' beacons, at a cost of €6,000 each, that would have prevented the fatal derailment.

The Metro-North connecting from Poughkeepsie through the Bronx into Manhattan is slated to receive Positive Train Control, as required by current Federal Railway Authority policy, but as recounted by Alan Levy:

Metro-North and the LIRR have been trying to wrangle their way out of the PTC mandate, saying it offers “marginal benefits”; a year and a half ago, the New York Post used the word “outrageous” to describe the PTC mandate, saying it would cost over a billion dollars and that the money could go to capacity improvements instead, such as station parking. Lobbying on behalf of Metro-North and the LIRR, Senator Charles Schumer emphasis mine made sure to amend a proposed Senate transportation bill to give the railroads waivers until 2018, so that they could devote resources to more rush hour capacity from the outer suburbs (such as Ronkonkoma) to Manhattan and fewer to safety. According to Siemens, the work will actually take until 2019, and Siemens says it “has developed PTC specifically for the North American market,” in other words built a bespoke system instead of ETCS. (ACSES was developed by Alstom.)

And that is the top-line point: if we had been more serious and committed about putting PTC on the busiest passenger rail corridors in the country, this fatal derailment would not have occurred.

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