Worm Salad

November 20, 2008, 6:42 pm
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Today is the Transgender Day of Remembrance.  I have a whole passion and slurry of emotion and things that I want to say, but I would just ask that you remember the thirty men and women who died this year as a result of violence directed against transgender persons.

The case that is closest to home for me, both literally and figuratively, is that of Angie Zapata, who was brutally beaten to death in Greeley, Colorado. Her murderer’s defense team is currently pushing for his charges to be lowered from hate-crime and murder, on the basis that a ‘tranny scare’ is a legitimately distressing event that could trigger a crime of passion, and validating her murderer’s claim that he “killed it.”

In this case, there is exactly one person who deserves the dehumanization and degradation that the pronoun “it” implies, and that is the person who would beat a vibrant, beautiful young woman to death because she was born with the wrong set of genitalia.

Please take a moment to remember our dead today, especially the transgendered women of color who have been so disproportionately affected by the violence plaguing our community.


Just a quick hit…
November 8, 2008, 7:32 pm
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… since I’m at work. Either tonight or tomorrow, I will have a great big, fun, sciency post for you guys, since that’s actually what I do with most of my life. But, until then, I’d just like to give a big shout-out to Scotland’s This is Not an Invtation to Rape Me campaign, which is fantastic. It tackles the myths of ‘she was asking for it’ head-on, and places the blame for rape squarely where it belongs — on the perpetrators. Coupled with some good statistics and resources, this is one of the best anti-rape campaigns I’ve ever seen. I’d love to see more of these types of campaigns, instead of the ‘safety’ campaigns that I see so often in the States, where, instead of confronting rapists head-on, the focus is on telling women what privileges they shouldn’t take for granted — even with the best of intentions, there’s a certain amount of victim blaming that goes on. Scotland’s campaign is fantastic because it respects the fundamental rights of women to go out, wear what they want, and even get into relationships without forfeiting the ultimate rights to their bodies.

In other words — great job!

Barack Obama, President Elect
November 5, 2008, 5:16 am
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Barack Obama is the president-elect of the United States, and will come into power, in all probability, heading up a strongly democratic house and Senate. While I can’t hope but see this as a change for the better, there are certainly parts and parcels of Obama’s policies which I can’t help but disagree with. Here’s what I’d really like to see from the new Presidential administration.

  1. Better positions on LGBTQ rights. Obama’s been incredibly reserved on subjects of gay rights. We need federal anti-discrimination laws that cover gender expression on top of sexual orientation. We need better federal health guidelines on the proper treatment of intersex children. We need to repeal DOMA and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. We need federal laws that will extend marriage benefits to same-sex couples who want them, and we need a federal administration that will combat the wave of anti-gay constitutional amendments and legislation that has become a  part of the constitutions of many states tonight.
  2. Better women’s rights. We need better sex education that not only teaches young women how to protect themselves, but one that teaches young men not to rape. We need better standards for sex education in general, and better, safer access to abortion throughout the country. We need a better health care system; one that doesn’t unfairly penalize women for being more likely to seek life-saving preventative health care, and we need better schools, preschools and day cares to maximize the opportunities of working mothers.
  3. Better science funding. Obama’s proposals on science funding are highly oriented towards “goal-directed” science, rather than basic research. There’s nothing wrong with goal-directed research, but especially in the biological sciences, basic research is still fundamental, critical, underfunded, and, of course, the birthplace of all of our current innovation. We need to promote, not penalize science.
  4. Better education. No Child Left Behind was an unparalleled educational disaster. We need more focus on both promoting excellence and on helping underperforming children to achieve. Teacher salaries need to be increased, educational standards need to be standardized across states, and more money needs to be diverted into underperforming schools, especially into innovative programs that are focused on the needs and rights of children. We need to be spending much, much more money in the arts, and in extracurricular programs.
  5. Better foreign policy. Our foreign policy is, currently a disaster. We need to ratify Kyoto, and need to sign international declarations of human rights. We need to improve our own image and standing within the world. We need to withdraw from Iraq, end highly problematic trade agreements, like NAFTA, and begin to forge diplomatic relationships, especially in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and South America. We need to fight terrorism with ideas, not weapons.

What do you want to see from Obama’s next four years?