Thursday, June 30, 2011

Burnaby School Board Unanimously Passes Gender ID-Sexual Orientation Inclusive Policy

It's not just school districts in the States that recognize the harmful effects bullying of TBLG students causes for them and the barriers they create to learning for our community.  Was pleased to read that Canadian school districts are taking a stand against it as well.   

During its June 14 meeting the Burnaby Schools Board of Education in the Vancouver, British Columbia metro area unanimously approved Policy 5.45.   It was two years in development and is designed to help address transphobic and homophobic harassment and bullying in Burnaby Schools.

Policy 5.45 seeks “to ensure that all members of the school community work together in an atmosphere of respect and safety regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.” and also has the goal of supporting the Burnaby School District’s commitment to provide a safe and caring educational environment..

“Our schools reflect the increasing diversity in our rapidly changing communities," Burnaby School Board Chair Larry Hayes said. “We may differ in our language, culture, national origin, religion or sexual orientation but we all want to feel safe and welcome. We believe this policy will help to foster respect, acceptance and understanding in our schools – and our community.”

Glad they see it that way, and hope the policy makes a difference for kids in that district.

'Equality' Has Come To New York- Really?

Really?   Since when?   Feels more like the same old inequality we deal with every day to us.

If you talk to most New York based transpersons they sure aren't feeling equal.   They're frustrated and angry.  They are feeling more like they got screwed once again because of the failure of GENDA to pass and yes, the past Gay, Inc history of throwing us under the bus or using us as legislative bargaining chips to get what you want is feeding into this sentiment.  

Vocalizing those thoughts doesn't make me or any other trans person  'jealous', 'whiners', 'haters' or 'anti-gay' any more than it did anytime the gay community shouted 'crumbs' every time a pro-trans policy came out of the Obama White House.

It's also not 'sour grapes' to talk about the inconvenient (for you) fact that New York transpeople were cut out of SONDA in 2002 by our alleged ESPA and GL allies,  and we are still waiting for you in various areas of this country to keep your word and 'come back' for us.

You GL peeps may be feeling like first class citizens, but we trans peeps aren't feeling the glow of first class citizenship love 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

White House 2011 LGBT Pride Reception

Had Marti and Ethan in attendance at this year's LGBT reception, and I'm interested in discovering whether the trans contingent was once again African American free for the third straight year.

I'll complain about that later if it was.   In the meantime here's what the POTUS had to say at the LGBT reception.

6:00 P.M. EDT

      THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody!  (Applause.)  Welcome to the White House.  (Applause.) 
Nothing ruins a good party like a long speech from a politician.  (Laughter.)  So I'm going to make a short set of remarks here.  I appreciate all of you being here.  I have learned a lesson:  Don't follow Potomac Fever -- (laughter) -- because they sounded pretty good.
We’ve got community leaders here.  We've got grassroots organizers.  We've got some incredible young people who are just doing great work all across the country -– folks who are standing up against discrimination, and for the rights of parents and children and partners and students --
        AUDIENCE MEMBER:  And spouses.
        THE PRESIDENT:  -- and spouses.  (Applause.)  You’re fighting for the idea that everyone ought to be treated equally and everybody deserves to be able to live and love as they see fit.  (Applause.)
        Now, I don’t have to tell the people in this room we've got a ways to go in the struggle, how many people are still denied their basic rights as Americans, who are still in particular circumstances treated as second-class citizens, or still fearful when they walk down the street or down the hall at school. Many of you have devoted your lives to the cause of equality.  So you all know that we've got more work to do.
        But I think it's important for us to note the progress that's been made just in the last two and a half years.  I just want everybody to think about this.  (Applause.)  It was here, in the East Room, at our first Pride reception, on the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, a few months after I took office, that I made a pledge, I made a commitment.  I said that I would never counsel patience; it wasn’t right for me to tell you to be patient any more than it was right for folks to tell African Americans to be patient in terms of their freedoms.  I said it might take time to get everything we wanted done.  But I also expected to be judged not by the promises I made, but the promises I kept.
        Now, let's just think about it.  I met with Judy Shepard.  I promised her we'd pass an inclusive hate crimes law, named after her son, Matthew.  And with the help of Ted Kennedy and others, we got it done and I signed the bill.  (Applause.)
        I met Janice Lang-ben, who was barred from the bedside of the woman she loved as she lay dying, and I told her we were going to put a stop to that discrimination.  And I issued an order so that any hospital in America that accepts Medicare or Medicaid –- and that means just about every hospital in America  -– has to treat gay partners just as they have to treat straight partners.  Nobody in America should have to produce a legal contract.  (Applause.)
        I said we'd lift the HIV travel ban.  We got that done.  (Applause.)  We put in place the first national strategy to fight HIV/AIDS.  (Applause.)
        A lot of people said we weren’t going to be able to get "don't ask, don't tell" done, including a bunch of people in this room.  (Laughter.)  And I just met Sue Fulton, who was part of the first class of women at West Point, and is an outstanding advocate for gay service members.  It took two years through Congress -– working with Admiral Mullen and Secretary Gates and the Pentagon.  We had to hold together a fragile coalition.  We had to keep up the pressure.  But the bottom line is we got it done.  And in a matter of weeks, not months, I expect to certify the change in policy –- and we will end "don't ask, don't tell" once and for all.  (Applause.)
        I told you I was against the Defense -- so-called Defense of Marriage Act.  I've long supported efforts to pass a repeal through Congress.  And until we reach that day, my administration is no longer defending DOMA in the courts.  The law is discriminatory.  It violates the Constitution.  It’s time for us to bring it to an end.  (Applause.)
        So bottom line is, I’ve met my commitments to the LGBT community.  I have delivered on what I promised.  Now, that doesn’t mean our work is done.  There are going to be times where you’re still frustrated with me.  (Laughter.)  I know there are going to be times where you’re still frustrated at the pace of change.  I understand that.  I know I can count on you to let me know.  (Laughter and applause.)  This is not a shy group.  (Laughter.)  
        But what I also know is that I will continue to fight alongside you.  And I don’t just mean as an advocate.  You are moms and dads who care about the schools that your children go to.  You’re students who are trying to figure out how to pay for going to college.  You’re folks who are looking for good jobs to pay the bills.  You’re Americans who want this country to prosper.  So those are your fights, too.  And the fact is these are hard days for America.  So we’ve got a lot of work to do to, not only on ending discrimination; we’ve got a lot of work to do to live up to the ideals on which we were founded, and to preserve the American Dream in our time -– for everybody, whether they're gay or straight or lesbian or transgender.
        But the bottom line is, I am hopeful.  I’m hopeful because of the changes we’ve achieved just in these past two years.  Think about it.  It’s astonishing.  Progress that just a few years ago people would have thought were impossible.  And more than that, what gives me hope is the deeper shift that we’re seeing that’s a transformation not just in our laws but in the hearts and minds of people -- the progress led not by Washington but by ordinary citizens.
        It’s propelled not by politics but by love and friendship and a sense of mutual regard and mutual respect.  It’s playing out in legislatures like New York.  (Applause.)  It’s playing out in courtrooms.  It’s playing out in the ballot box, as people argue and debate over how to bring about the changes where we are creating a more perfect union.  But it’s also happening around water coolers.  It’s happening at Thanksgiving tables.  It’s happening on Facebook and Twitter, and at PTA meetings and potluck dinners, and church halls and VFW Halls.
        It happens when a father realizes he doesn’t just love his daughter, but also her partner.  (Applause.)  It happens when a soldier tells his unit that he’s gay, and they say, well, yeah, we knew that –- (laughter) -- but, you know, you’re a good soldier. It happens when a video sparks a movement to let every single young person out there know that they’re not alone.  (Applause.) It happens when people look past their differences to understand our common humanity.
        And that’s not just the story of the gay rights movement.  It is the story of America, and the slow, inexorable march towards a more perfect union.
        I want thank you for your contribution to that story.  I’m confident we’re going to keep on writing more chapters.
        Thank you very much, everybody.  (Applause.)
END 6:10 P.M. EDT

2011 FIFA Women's World Cup Team USA Watch- Good Start

In the weeks leading up to the 2011 Women's World Cup in Germany there were more concerns and questions about the FIFA number one ranked Team USA squad than confident answers. 

USA head coach Pia Sundhage said she wasn't worried, but we fans sure were, especially when we were playing a deja vu opening Group C matchup with North Korea and that 2007 2-2 draw was dancing in our heads.  After being tied with the youthful and speedy North Koreans after 45 minutes of action in Dresden's Rudolf Harbig Stadion, USA fans were even more nervous.

But  in the second half Team USA began to look more like their FIFA world number one ranked selves.  They pretty much stayed on North Korea's side of the pitch and kept blasting away at the North Korean goal until Lauren Cheney scored in the 54th minute to give Team USA their first goal of the 2011 tournament and more importantly a 1-0 lead.

Rachel Buehler added a second goal in the 76th minute and we almost had a third one from Megan Rapinoe in extra time that was disallowed.  

Team USA finished up with a 2-0 win and more importantly, is on the top of the Group C standings.  They can clinch their trip to the knockout round with a win Saturday in Sinsheim against Colombia.

And I'll also be watching today's Group D matches as well with renewed interest.

Nigeria Super Falcons Are Super Phobes

When it comes to international women's football, Nigeria's Super Falcons are quickly garnering an international reputation not for the quality of their play on the football pitch, but for their transphobia and homophobia.

They are longtime African continental powers and six time AWC champs, have gone to the knockout rounds of women's Olympic tournaments and are making their sixth appearance in the FIFA Women's World Cup.

While they have come up empty handed in terms of coming home with the big prizes in international play and are competitive at the FIFA youth levels of the beautiful game, when it comes to hatin', they are the undisputed world champs..   

Back in 2008 they did loud and long gender whining about the host Equatorial Guinea team during the Africa Women's Cup tournament and claimed that Bilguissa and Salimata Simpore and team captain Anonma Genevova were men.

Karma swiftly kicked in as the ladies from Equatorial Guinea upset Nigeria 1-0 in the semis of the AWC tournament and eventually won it all on home soil.  Genevova was the MVP of that tournament and fittingly scored the winning goal in the 58th minute of their semifinal match against the Super Falcons on a free kick that Nigerian goalkeeper Precious Dede mishandled..

That episode was swiftly followed up by karma rearing its head in the case of a talented teen played named Bessy Ekaete Boniface who was discovered to be intersex and dismissed from the Super Falcons camp . 

The Super Falcons avenged their embarrassing for them 2008 loss to Equatorial Guinea by beating them 4-2 in the 2010 AWC final in South Africa to punch their World Cup ticket to Germany, but the sore winners still filed a complaint with the CAF against the Equatorial Guinea squad with the same 'that's a man' charges aimed at Genevova and the Simpore sisters.

The complaint was dismissed by the Confederation of African Football, the continental governing body of football and FIFA, but enough blood was drawn by the constant Nigerian gender grousing to where the Simpore sisters were left off the Equatorial Guinea World Cup squad.

Genevova is still the captain of the team and played in the team's opening Group D l-0 loss against Norway.

But back to the latest drama surrounding the Super Phobes, oops the Super Falcons.  

38 year old Eucharia Uche, who played for the Super Falcons in the 2007 FIFA World Cup, became the first female coach of the women's national team in 2009 in the wake of the anger in Nigeria and Nigerian Football Federation concern over the poor 2008 AWC tournament performance.

But Uche's first trip to the FIFA Women's World Cup as the Super Falcon head coach is under a controversial cloud as she admitted that she purged suspected lesbian players off the team no matter what their talent level.  She also compounded it by admitting that she used her religious beliefs and religious doctrine in an attempt to 'rid her team of homosexual behavior' which she termed in a March 16, 2001 interview in Nigeria's Daily Sun paper as a 'dirty issue,' and 'spiritually, morally very wrong.'

Well, so how did the new 'moral' Super Falcons do?

They lost their opening Group A match to France 1-0 in a lackluster performance, and oh yeah, they still have group matches coming up against the back to back defending FIFA women's world champion Germany and the CONCACAF champs Canada.

Usually, I'm rooting for teams from the Mother Continent to do well in any international sporting event.   But in the case of the Super Phobes, I'm rooting for the karmic wheel to kick in.  May they get the results they  deserve in Group A play and a long depressing plane ride back home to Abuja with the quickness.