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Showing posts from November, 2018

Two major federal actions against transgender rights in the US - Nov. 23, 2018

On Friday, Nov. 23, 2018, the Trump administration made two major moves against transgender rights.Proposed U.S. ban on transgender soldiers may jump over appeals court and go directly to Supreme CourtOn Friday, the administration "asked the Supreme Court to bypass the usual legal process to take on...President Trump’s decision to ban transgender people from military service." (Washington Post, Nov. 23, 2018) Trump proposed the ban in July 2017 via Twitter. He ordered Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis to develop a plan for implementing this ban, which Mattis did. The ban was challenged, however, in part on the basis that Trump's directive was groundless ("the result of discrimination, rather than a study of how allowing transgender personnel affects the military"). Jennifer Levi of GLAD said that "the open service policy that was thoroughly vetted by the military itself and has been in place now for more than two years. Lower courts upheld those challenges. …

Climate change will reduce U.S. GDP by 10 percent by the end of the 21st century

In the New York Times on Nov. 19, 2018:"Reports of the threats from a warming planet have been coming fast and furiously. The latest: a startling analysis from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicting terrible food shortages, wildfires and a massive die-off of coral reefs as soon as 2040, unless governments take strong action."And the New York Times on Friday, Nov. 23:"A major scientific report issued by 13 federal agencies on Friday [today] presents the starkest warnings to date of the consequences of climate change for the United States, predicting that if significant steps are not taken to rein in global warming, the damage will knock as much as 10 percent off the size of the American economy by century’s end.The report, which was mandated by Congress and made public by the White House, is notable not only for the precision of its calculations and bluntness of its conclusions, but also because its findings are directly at odds with President Trump’s a…

On Jewish, Black, and transgender hate crime statistics

About this new statistic that's floating around. Here it is in a recent article in the New York Times:"Contrary to what are surely the prevailing assumptions, anti-Semitic incidents have constituted half of all hate crimes in New York [City] this year, according to the Police Department. To put that figure in context, there have been four times as many crimes motivated by bias against Jews — 142 in all — as there have against blacks. Hate crimes against Jews have outnumbered hate crimes targeted at transgender people by a factor of 20."- "Is It Safe to Be Jewish in New York?" by Ginia Bellafante, New York Times, Oct. 31, 2018This statistic excites some people, perhaps because they like to show that their group is more oppressed than others. But, of course, we should not perceive hate crimes statistics as a competition; the desirable rate for all groups is zero. As someone who is both transgender and Jewish, I do not feel better—neither more assured of my own s…

Zayn Malik doesn't identify as Muslim: "I don't believe any of it"

In the British Vogue,Giles Hattersley writes of Zayn Malik:...it’s a simple “Zayn” these days, ever since the 25-year-old boyband survivor from Bradford with perfect hair and poptastic falsetto dispensed with his surname and went fully Cher. That was a year after he fled One Direction, in March 2015, when the world’s most successful group was at the hormone-addled apex of its fame. For a brief moment, Zayn was the YouTube generation’s answer to John Lennon (or Geri Halliwell, at least), devastating millions of fans across the globe with his shotgun exit, then thrilling them a year later with a record-breaking, Billboard-topping debut album. He moved to the States, clocked up billions of streams, dueted with Taylor Swift, shot campaigns for Versus and endured the peculiar menace of having a dozen paparazzi camped outside his door every day. He also became an international figurehead for biracial success and anti-Islamophobia. And I mentioned the hair, right?While he's "routine…

LGBT people struggle to survive a purge in Tanzania

In Tanzania, the Dar es Salaam regional commissioner has asked the public to report gay people. "Give me their names," he said on Oct. 29. "My ad hoc team"—a committee of 17 police and media officials—"will begin to get their hands on them" in just one week. The next day, he reported that he'd already received over 100 names in over five thousand messages. Although the Tanzanian government clarified that this regional effort does not represent the national government's official policy, it was not clear if the national government intended to stop the Dar es Salaam regional purge.The organization Jinsiangu, supported by the International AIDS Alliance (donate), has helped people relocate internationally to Nairobi, Kenya for their personal safety.BackgroundTanzanian law, an inheritance from British colonialism, punishes men who have sex with other men with 30-years-to-life in jail.CNN reported:"According to 2014 UNAIDS data, 17.6% of men who ha…