"Over the past few decades, 160 million women have vanished from East and South Asia — or, to be more accurate, they were never born at all. Throughout the region, the practice of sex selection — prenatal sex screening followed by selective termination of pregnancies — has yielded a generation packed with boys. From a normal level of 105 boys to 100 girls, the ratio has shifted to 120, 150, and, in some cases, nearly 200 boys born for every 100 girls. In some countries, like South Korea, ratios spiked and are now returning to normal. But sex selection is on the rise in Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East." American journalist Mara Hvistendahl's new book: "Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men," examines and tries to predict the actual and potential effects of unequal sex ratios on men, women and the social economies of the affected regions, including the recent spike in sex trafficking and bride-buying across Asia. More. [more inside]
Hey Beyonce, Guess What? You're a Liar. (SLYT) Angry young video blogger (vlogger?) Nineteen Percent calls out Beyonce's Run the World (Girls) for shallow girl-power lyrics. (via Feministing.)
Brazil's supreme court recognises same sex unions. The Brazilian Supreme Court voted 10-0 (one abstention) yesterday to recognise same-sex civil unions as of equal legal validity to marriage/ with "stable" same-sex couples now able to gain certificates that allow access to equal legal rights. "Discrimination generates hatred," said Justice Carlos Ayres Britto, who wrote the ruling. [more inside]
In a pinch, upgrade the humans or redistribute the robots - "[S]uppose [as a factory owner] I replace all my workers with machines... This squeeze has many implications, one of them being that here is an important sector of the economy in which more or less all the gains accrue to the owners of capital and more or less none to the working class..." [more inside]
A law has come into force in France which makes it an offence for a Muslim woman to conceal her face behind a veil when in public. [more inside]
OK News Sobering statistics in 2011 America:
One in three families with children relied solely on the mother's earnings in 2010, but women's earnings accounted for only about a third of married couples' income.
Women still earn less — about 77 cents for each male dollar. [more inside]
"...because I think you're a sexist, misogynist dinosaur. A relic of the Cold War, who's boyish charms, though wasted on me, obviously appealed to the young lady I sent out to evaluate you."
James Bond star Daniel Craig in drag for International Women's Day. Daniel Craig wears women's clothes for a short film about sexual inequality for International Women's Day, narrated by Judi Dench, who plays M in the 007 films. [more inside]
Last week, the Maryland Senate approved legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage. A half-hour ago, after a whole lot of drama, the bill was passed by the House Judiciary Committee.
A female has won a match for the first time at the prestigious Iowa State Wrestling Tournament . . . by default. Her opponent stated, “I have a tremendous amount of respect for Cassy and Megan (Black, the tournament’s other female entrant) and their accomplishments. However, wrestling is a combat sport and it can get violent at times. As a matter of conscience and my faith, I do not believe that it is appropriate for a boy to engage a girl in this manner. It is unfortunate that I have been placed in a situation not seen in most of the high school sports in Iowa.” [more inside]
In Norway, Start-ups Say Ja to Socialism - We venture to the very heart of the hell that is Scandinavian socialism—and find out that it's not so bad. Pricey, yes, but a good place to start and run a company. What exactly does that suggest about the link between taxes and entrepreneurship?
Bayard Rustin was an important civil rights activist, the chief organizer of the 1963 March on Washington and an invaluable strategist to Martin Luther King, Jr. Despite opposition relating to his status as an openly gay man, he continued to contribute throughout his life to the struggle for racial equality and later, for gay and lesbian equality. [more inside]
Starting by fighting for her own children's rights, she ends up in government implementing the UN Convention on Disability Rights.
Photos of US soldiers and vets engaged in non-violent protest against "DADT" in front of the White House.
"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is an exhibit of photographs by Jeff Sheng that is currently on tour in the US. A sharp contrast to his previous work: Fearless, which highlighted young Canadian and US athletes who openly identify as gay, lesbian or transgendered, this new exhibition shows gay American servicemen who cannot, so they have been photographed in uniform with their faces hidden or outside the photo's frame to protect their anonymity. Flash Galleries: DADT 1, DADT 2. [more inside]
Transgender Man Plays on Women's College Team. A guard for George Washington University's women's basketball team is a transgender man. Kye Allums, who was born female and has not undergone any hormone treatments, changed his name from Kay-Kay to Kye within the last year and was relieved not to lose his scholarship. "When people refer to me as 'girl' or 'she,' it doesn't sit well with me," Allums said. "That feeling you get when someone pisses you off, that feeling you get when your stomach gets hot and it aches, that's what it feels like. And that's how I know I'm not supposed to be a girl." On Nov. 13, he will be the first transgender person to compete in Division One college basketball, according to OutSports. Opposing fans used to taunt Allums about his masculine build, but it backfired. "I love it," he said. "It makes me feel better about myself to hear them call me a man."
Two weeks ago, a Jewish newspaper in New Jersey, the Jewish Standard, published a wedding announcement for a same-sex Jewish couple. Now they're apologizing for it and saying it won't happen again. [more inside]
Women's Pro Tennis Turns 40. Women's professional tennis was launched by World Tennis magazine publisher Gladys Heldman 40 years ago on September 23, 1970, with a tournament that had nine entrants and $7,500 in prizes. The original nine were Billy Jean King and Rosemary Casals along with the lesser known Peaches Bartkowicz, Judy Dalton, Julie Heldman, Kerry Melville, Kristy Pigeon, Nancy Richey and Valerie Ziegenfuss. A year later, King became the first female athlete to earn six figures in her sport. In the '80s, Martina Navratilova became the first to earn $1 million. Today the WTA Tour is an $85 million-a-year sport. "We wanted to make sure that any young girl, if she was good enough and if she wanted to, would have the opportunity to make a living playing tennis," King said.
Not all queer or LGBT people are for legalizing gay marriage. The Against Equality collective argues that legalizing marriage values one type of relationship over another (.pdf), doesn't do enough for queer people of colour, and plays into the larger class struggle. Beyond Marriage calls for "access to a flexible set of economic benefits and options regardless of sexual orientation, race, gender/gender identity, class, or citizenship status". Queer activists in Maine consider the marriage issue a "distraction from improving the lives of gay people", and Questioning Transphobia argues that "marriage by its very nature is an exclusive practice, its purpose is to ennoble some relationships and by default render other relationships to be less meaningful and less worthy of legal and social recognition". Mainstream queer women's website Autostraddle ponders all this and asks: does gay marriage make gays straight?
With a ruling scheduled today on Prop 8 — the California ballot measure that took away the right to marry from same-sex couples — Dave Fleischer has an in-depth analysis of all of the polling data on Prop 8, and his findings include some counter-intuitive numbers, like that the confusing wording actually ended up helping the No vote more than the Yes.
Five members of the Quinnipiac University women's volleyball team, and the team's coach, have sued the school for dismantling the team to use the money for a cheerleading squad. More on the legal background of the case. Quinnipiac has been also been accused of cooking the roster books--triple counting track/field athletes--to inflate the number of female athletes. [more inside]
"We know it's a little clichéd – but here's what we want to tell the census: We're here. We're queer. And we want you to ask us about it."
The 2010 United States Census will be able to count gay marriages and partnerships. George Takei and his husband tell you how. Even with the restrictions placed on that data by the Defense of Marriage Act, that's good news for the LGB part of the spectrum, but what about T? If you're transgender, despite what the Census might tell you, it's not so simple to be counted. (hat tip to nadawi) [more inside]
In Germany, a Tradition Falls, and Women Rise. The half-day school system survived feudalism, the rise and demise of Hitler’s mother cult, the women’s movement of the 1970s and reunification with East Germany. Now, in the face of economic necessity, it is crumbling: one of the lowest birthrates in the world, the specter of labor shortages and slipping education standards have prompted a rethink.
The Australian Capital Territory, the home of the Australian capital of Canberra, has passed a bill allowing same-sex civil unions. As marriage is a federal matter in Australia, this is the highest recognition of same sex unions that is constitutionally allowed in a state or territory of Australia. However, it does give political momentum to the movement looking towards the repeal of the "one man and one woman" Marriage Amendment Act of 2004.
Yesterday, US President Obama signed a $680bn military policy bill, which cuts military spending, including $2bn in funding for new F-22 fighter jets. However, the bill also contained the first major piece of federal gay rights legislation, and fulfilled an Obama campaign promise: acts of violence against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people have now been added to the list of federal hate crimes.
The woman at my polling place asked me, do I believe in equality for gay and lesbian people? I was pretty surprised to be asked a question like that. It made no sense to me. Finally I asked her, "What do you think I fought for on Omaha Beach?"
First, there was the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck. Now, everyone's favorite super-premium conglomerate-owned sticking-to-its-righteous-roots ice cream company has transformed "Chubby Hubby" into Hubby Hubby (only in VT, only for September), in support of same sex marriage, which is legal in Vermont as of this month. No word yet whether Iowa-based Winnebago will follow suit with a specially-named RV.
On May 18, 2009, the Governor of Washington state signed into law SB 5688, granting near-equal legal standing to state registered domestic partners, meaning mainly (but not exclusively) same-sex couples. This new law, nicknamed the "everything but marriage" law was to go into effect at the end of July. Due to efforts made by some conservative groups, the measure will now be up for a public vote on the November 3, 2009 ballot in the form of Referendum 71. [more inside]
Maine Ways (SLYT)
Tomorrow, Obama will extend federal employee benefits to same-sex partners. But is it too little, too late to mend the growing rift between Obama and gay rights advocates, especially after last week's controversial DOMA brief (discussed previously)?
Dear Mr. President: ... I realized that although I and other LGBT leaders have introduced ourselves to you as policy makers, we clearly have not been heard, and seen, as what we also are: human beings whose lives, loves, and families are equal to yours. I know this because this brief would not have seen the light of day if someone in your administration who truly recognized our humanity and equality had weighed in with you. [more inside]
Oh noes, those gay newlyweds are causing Biblical rainstorms!! An ominous new TV ad by the National Organization for Marriage -- who helped pass Prop. 8 in California -- features a "rainbow coalition" of folks to warn America that marriage equality advocates want to "take away" your "freedom" by pushing the issue "far beyond same-sex couples." Unfortunately for NOM, the profound seriousness of this threat has been undermined by a leak of audition reels for the ad.
Today, the Vermont Legislature voted to override Gov. Jim Douglas' veto of a bill allowing same sex marriage, making Vermont the 4th state in the nation (and the second state this week) to legalize same sex marriage. Vermont is the first state to do it legislatively; it happened in the other three states via court ruling.
The Iowa Supreme Court has just unanimously declared the state's ban on gay marriage to be unconstitutional. "The decision strikes the language from Iowa Code section 595.2 limiting civil marriage to a man and a woman. It further directs that the remaining statutory language be interpreted and applied in a manner allowing gay and lesbian people full access to the institution of civil marriage." (full summary PDF) The ruling effectively legalizes same-sex marriage in the state of Iowa.
British academics Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett believe they've discovered the underlying cause of all modern society's ills: inequality. In their book, The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better, they explain how health and social problems follow a strikingly similar pattern, being closely correlated with income distribution (pdf). To spread the word, they've founded The Equality Trust
Gay marriage equals incest and pedophilia. Abortion equals the Holocaust. Or so thinks "America's Pastor Rick "Saddleback" Warren, bestselling author of The Purpose-Driven Life, vocal supporter of Proposition 8, and the spiritual leader chosen by President-elect Obama to give the invocation at his inauguration. But hey -- don't call him a homophobe: He even eats dinner with gays.
It's morning in America again -- but for the thousands of committed gay couples who got married in California [warning: Dan Fogelberg music, sweet visuals], the long nightmare of intolerance and hate is not yet over with the probable victory of Proposition 8. Supported by the anti-equality stances of Sarah Palin and "divinely" inspired others, and paid for by members of the Mormon Church and the mother of Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater, many of the ads for Prop. 8 featured the faces of Obama and Joe Biden, who declared their opposition to the initiative but refused to support equal marriage rights for all, preferring to talk about "civil unions." Even excellent Democratic-leaning politics sites like Talking Points Memo were saturated with the deceptive ads, which overwhelmed those comparing the proposition to other forms of discrimination in California's history.
The Massachusetts House of Representatives voted to repeal a ban on out of state marriages that has been on the books since 1913. The up-shot? Out of state gay and lesbian couples may soon wed in Massachusetts. The vote goes next to governor Deval Patrick, who has already indicate that he is in favor of repealing the law. [more inside]
If you hadn't heard of Jim Crow before, this is where you can find a brief history on the subject (along with a radio broadcast of some of the people who were involved). Bayard Rustin's Journey of Reconciliation: America's First Freedom Ride (You Don't Have To Ride "Jim Crow") was a precursor [audio and video] to the Civil Rights Movement of the 50's and 60's. (Also, a look at the Jim Crow Museum and a walk down Jim Crow Road today.) [previously*]
If even most African-Americans believe the black poor are primarily responsible for their own plight, does that make it true?
In 1897, Elizabeth Smith Miller and her daughter Anne Fitzhugh Miller founded the Geneva Political Equality Club, an organization dedicated to fighting for women's suffrage in the United States. Between them, the two women kept several scrapbooks documenting their efforts through 1911. Via.
workplace protection--not as hotbutton as Marriage Equality or Don't Ask Don't Tell, but far more essential
ENDA House hearings start tomorrow --a record 94% of Fortune 500 companies now provide Sexual Orientation Discrimination Protection, and 89% of Americans polled believe Homosexuals should have equal rights in terms of job opportunities. Repeatedly introduced and then killed since 1994, the 2007 version--H.R. 2015--Employment Non-Discrimination Act (text of bill)--includes transgender protection for the very first time. The TVC is just one of many organizations fighting it. (there is a religious exemption, but groups like the TVC would be covered by it)
"I've said all along, we are in this together." John Simson, executive director of SoundExchange - the royalty collecting arm of the RIAA - extends an olive branch through 2008 that will cap the advance payments internet broadcasters will have to cough up at $2500 per year. This comes in the wake of the Day of Silence, (it was June 26, did anyone notice?) spearheaded by Los Angeles-based terrestrial/online radio station KCRW (home of the brilliant Morning Becomes Eclectic) and SaveNetRadio, during which some of the biggest names in online radio - include Live365, NPR and Pandora - went dark for 24 hours, airing a one-hour broadcast twice during that day on the history of flat fees in public broadcasting. [direct .mp3, 38mb] Under the much-maligned changes made by our government's Copyright Royalty Board, the top six internet radio stations would have had to pay 47 percent of their total revenue (anticipated to be around $37.5 mil.) to the RIAA, starting this July. The Internet Radio Equality Act [summary, in its entire pdf glory] has been introduced to the House of Representatives, seeking to permanently reverse this decision.
Fairy Tale Weddings for all -- Disney, under fire for discriminating at its parks, opens up its popular (and expensive!) Fairy Tale Weddings and Honeymoons to same-sex couples.
...at the end of the day, we're specimens to be dissected, examined and studied so that you may teach a "lesson" that you view as important. ...
We Are Not Freaks --from Silber's Power of Narrative--and applicable to all who fall outside the norms.
... add the phrase, “who are capable of having children with one another” to the legal definition of marriage...
Washington Initiative Requires Proof of Procreation From Married Couples -- in response to a ruling made by the Washington Supreme Court last year stating gay and lesbian couples could be prevented from marrying by the state because Washington has a legitimate interest in preserving marriage for couples who can procreate. It's been accepted by their Secy of State, and only needs signatures now to get on the ballot. Press release here, which adds: The time has come for these conservatives to be dosed with their own medicine. If same-sex couples should be barred from marriage because they can not have children together, it follows that all couples who can not or will not have children together should equally be barred from marriage.
The grooms wore khakis and leather boots. Two game rangers, Vernon Gibbs and Tony Halls, became the first same-sex couple to legally wed in South Africa on December 1, a day after President Thabo Mbeki's government authorised gay marriages. SA is the 5th country allowing fullly equal same-sex marriage rights--Worldwide timeline of advances here, from 1979 until now. (In other news: Israel just officially recognized full rights for marriages made abroad, and Mexico City just approved Civil Unions)