The Day We Fight Back

Today is the day we fight back. It's only the beginning, but at least it's a start. We need to form broad coalitions to push back against the increasingly technologically advanced surveillance state we've let this nation become. Let's discuss some actionable goals each of us could take in order to initiate this push, either individually or together. We must prove that we are more than simply the aggregate of our data. We are also the small initiators of great change, if only we put our minds, bodies, and souls up to it.



Will climate change saints save the Earth?

In writing my last diary on climate change, I was advised that "if you're not working on solutions you're just spinning wheels." I am not going to name the author of this comment -- this is not a call-out diary. But I will say that it is indeed important that we continue our work on climate change. Protests should continue, publicity needs to continue, and we should continue to sway the public and the political class.




Transgender Day of Remembrance, 2013





The Transgender Day of Remembrance was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28th, 1998 kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Rita Hester’s murder — like most anti-transgender murder cases — has yet to be solved.

--Gwendolyn Ann Smith, founder

Normally TDoR is observed on November 20, but I am a worker.

The list is lengthy, as it seems to be every year. And this list is incomplete. I'd estimate that it represents about a quarter of those gender-variant people who were killed for being differently gendered since last November. Transgender Europe will release a more complete number, for the calendar year of 2013, in the future.



We matter!



We shall strive not to forget.



Jeydon only wants his photo in the yearbook Update: It's in!

 photo jeydon2_zps51796b67.jpgLa Feria, TX high school senior Jeydon Loredo just wants to have his picture in his high school yearbook. But La Feria Independent School District Superintendent Rey Villareal has a big problem with that. You see, Jeydon was born and raised to be female. But, like transgender people everywhere, that didn't take.

Villareal has told Jeydon's mother that Jeydon can have his picture in the yearbook only if he wears stereotypically feminine attire, like a blouse or a drape. The superintendent does not take responsibility for this decision, however. Having only been in the job for four months, he says he is deferring to Jeydon's principal. Villareal says the student handbook is clear: the suitability of each photo which appears in the yearbook is subject to the judgement of the principal. Jeydon's family says that in fact Villareal made the decision, not the principal.




Jeydon has everything right in his statement:




I’ve lived here my whole life, and I’ve grown up with the kids here. I’ve seen those in my community go through troubles, and denying my tuxedo photo would be a way for the district to forget me and everything I’ve brought to this community. The yearbook is for the students, not the faculty or the administration. It is a way for us to remember each other.



Protesting Russia's anti-LGBT agenda



I've lived to bury my desires
and see my dreams corrode with rust
now all that's left are fruitless fires
that burn my empty heart to dust.

--Alexander Pushkin




Masha Bast is chair of the Association of Russian Lawyers for Human Rights. The association was founded in 2004, but didn't come into fruition until 2007.

Masha has come out as a bisexual transwoman in order to protest the Russian federal ban on "gay propaganda."

The law banning gay propaganda among minors is completely wrong

I remember being 10 and wanting to be a girl and putting on girl's clothes. I didn't understand what was happening to me.

This was in the Soviet Union and there was no information to explain what was happening to me.

--Masha Bast

There is more from Masha on the inside.



The Lameness of the Progressive Lambs

I read an interesting piece by Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism the other day (which I encourage people short of time to read in its entirety rather than reading the blockquote below and my modest addendum), entitled Why Progressives Are Lame. A few blockquotes do not do the piece justice, I did particularly like:

Reviewing the summary above, it will be evident that progressives are ill-equipped by objective and inclination both to succeed in bare-knuckle political strife. One could say unflatteringly that the goal of ‘progressives’ in activism is to raise their personal karma by standing up for what is right. “Sinners repent,” is the substance of their message, and their best dream would be to have those in the wrong do just that, to embrace progressive issues and implement them. More cynically, one wonders whether progressives would be entirely pleased if all of their reforms were implemented, leaving nothing to inveigh against.

How did a great swathe of Americans sit back and let these hard-gotten gains be rescinded? While there are no doubt many causes, let me posit a few. One was that the middle class chose not to identify much with radical goals. The whole point of being middle class was to leave all of that behind, not just the poverty but the opposition to authority. Another was that it seemed inconceivable, at least for the post-war and Boomer generations, that these economics rights would be withdrawn....

So that takes us full circle to McKibben’s post, on leadership. I’d hazard that he’s wrong, that the only thing that might rouse downtrodden formerly-middle-class-in-denial Americans from their stupor is in fact the sort of charismatic leader he renounces as anachronistic and outré, say 21st century Huey Long or Jean Jaurès (or less ill-starred, David Lloyd George). The sort of distributed leadership that has become fashionable of late is well suited for local action or loosely coordinated movements. But the entrenched elites will require a visible show of force for them to cede any ground. That means key figures need to serve as lenses to concentrate the energy of ordinary citizens who no longer have outlets for their grievances.



Transgender Hero #5: Ashton Lee

Manteca High School junior Ashton Lee hand-delivered petitions. with nearly 6000 names to Governor Brown, urging him to sign AB 1266, which would give transgender students equal access to school programs and facilities.

Lee is a young transman. He testified in Sacramento during the legisiative hearings on the bill. Manteca High School has 5 openly transgender students.










California law already prohibits discrimination in education, but transgender students are still unfairly excluded from physical education, athletic teams, and other school activities and facilities.  This exclusion negatively impacts students' ability to succeed in school and graduate with their class.

--Melissa Goodman, an attorney with the ACLU of California




TransLife Center opened in Chicago

 photo RibbonCutting_zpsa9737727.jpgLast Monday Chicago House cut the ribbon to open the TransLife Center (TLC).

I first wrote about plans for the TLC a little over a year ago.

TLC is describing itself as the first facility of its kind for the transgender community. It is located in Chicago's Edgewater community. It will offer residential living, employment assistance, and healthcare.

Chicago House CEO Rev. Stan J. Sloan introduced Stormie Williams, who will be the first resident of the house. Williams cut the ribbon.

She says that staff have already helped her find employment.

I know there are more things to come.

--Stormy Williams






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