Argentina enacts most progressive transgender laws ever! Bravo!

Via the New York Times:

Argentina has put in place some of the most liberal rules on changing gender in the world, allowing people to alter their gender on official documents without first having to receive a psychiatric diagnosis or surgery.

The measure, which won unanimous support in the Senate this month, would also require public and private medical practitioners to provide free hormone therapy or gender reassignment surgery for those who want it — including those under the age of 18.

This is seriously the most progressive legal take on transgender rights in the world, and will save countless people untold emotional hardship in trying to make their physical sex comport with their gender identity.

Next steps: defend this foothold for human rights, and export this set of laws to the rest of the world. Can we do it?

Geek Pride, Towel Day and Glorious 25th of May!

Pulling yet another overnight for work tonight, but I have every intention of taking my towel with me. Today marks three distinct geek holidays all wrapped into one!

Kylie has a post with an infographic up to explain Towel Day, a day to celebrate the life and works of Douglas Adams of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. What about the other two, though? Well, Terry Pratchett’s Discworld marks the day as the Glorious Revolution, when people rose up to overthrow Lord Winder and succeeded, very temporarily, until history was rewritten shortly thereafter. You celebrate by hard-boiling an egg.

And Geek Pride Day celebrates geekery in general, but was timed to represent the release of the first Star Wars film. Star Wars is, of course, not the first major sci-fi event to develop a cult following as well as make it big in the mainstream, but it’s certainly one of the largest franchises in geek history.

How are you going to celebrate the geek trifecta today?

David Barton: punish homosexuality, “I don’t care what the Supreme Court says”

I know Chris Rodda is probably going to cover this eventually, because, I mean, look at the target. But since I’m doing an ongoing series of Youtube clips of religiously-motivated anti-gay bigotry that’s come scuttling out from the dark recesses of the public dialog on whether homosexuals are human beings with rights, I figure I might as well add this here.

So, theocracy then, is it? The Rule of the Bible vs. the rule of law? You do realize that that’s Sharia, only, you know, using a different book, right?

Hat tip Right Wing Watch.org.

Making casual bigotry cost, with minimal splash damage

In real life, I can be hot-headed. I can speak before thinking, and sometimes this involves a notable lack of decorum. That sometimes bleeds through onto my internet dealings, but I do make an effort to keep that to a minimum.

I am also very intolerant of intolerance and bigotry — I really hope that fact bleeds through, because it’s pretty much at the core of my character. I’ve dressed down co-workers and acquaintances for ridiculous bits of bigotry in the past, even at potential personal cost. Two specific incidents spring to mind immediately: “that’s so gay!” used to refer to something the woman didn’t like, and “what does WIFE stand for? Washing, ironing, fucking, et cetera!” from a friend’s newly-introduced male fiancee. In both cases, I tried to register disapproval in such a way that it was both about their words being unacceptable generally, and because I was personally offended. In the latter case, my friend — let’s call her Laura, which is neither her name nor initial — and others were present, and she did not chime in, so the encounter ended effectively immediately after I registered my disapproval. The conversation moved on from there.

I am lucky that, in Laura’s case, the bigot did not escalate, causing problems between them and a rift in our respective friendships. It turns out that latter encounter might have done some unintentional splash damage to Laura. If I had stopped and thought about it a little longer, I might have realized that I was putting her in a tough spot — something that seems rather obvious in hindsight, actually, given the circumstances.
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Another self-Godwin: Baptist pastor for queer concentration camps!

My focus has been on gay rights lately primarily because the Western world’s focus has been on gays. While Obama’s stand was hardly a stand at all, triangulating and capitulatory to states rights (and thus individual states’ rights to violate human rights) as it was, I happen to think this shift in national focus is one of the good things about his announcement. Getting us talking about gay rights again is the surest way to make change, to get people to recognize gay rights as human rights, especially with waxing public support for gay marriage.

Except it also seems to be bringing all the asshats out of the woodwork with their religiously-motivated bigotry. And this guy, Pastor Charles L. Worley of Providence Road Baptist Church in North Carolina, gets a gold star.

While one pastor calls gay rights akin to Hitler, another is perfectly willing to unabashedly suggest making gay concentration camps. How completely rational. Every value you exhort in this video, I’m aginn’ it, and you personally make me pukin’ sick. You and your three or four “amen” sycophants.

Hat tip to, well, everyone bringing this video up pretty well everywhere.

DC announces a prominent superhero will come out of the closet

Bleeding Cool reports:

One question asked at the DC panel today at the Kapow comic convention in London, was about DC co-publisher Dan DiDio’s interview with The Advocate. Specifically over the decision not to change any character’s sexual orientation when relaunching the DC Universe. At the time Dan stated they would introduce new LGBT characters rather than switch orientation, but the question asked why DC would switch race, size, age, all sorts of identifying features, but not orientation.

Surprisingly, Dan stated that they had changed DC’s policy in this regard. And they ae about to reintroduce a previously existing DC character who was previously straight and now will be “one of our most prominent gay characters.”

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News flash: blogs touching off firestorms IS actually helping!

Greg Laden, whom you might know from The Blogosphere, makes a good case that blogging about science, skepticism, et cetera, can actually help resolve long-standing questions a hell of a lot faster than traditional methods:

Someone is always wrong on the Internet. The idea that the most free-wheeling part of the Internet–blogs–would be a place where conflict is resolved seems laughable. The detachment of argument from social cues normally used to moderate our conversations combined with the intentional sloughing off of civil norms means that the only resolution that happens here might be the screen resolution of your computer. It would be easy to say that the Internet is where conflict is born, not resolved.

But that would miss an important point.

Almost all the conflicts I’ve observed in this milieu are problems that were already out there somewhere but in many cases hidden and thus unacknowledged. We can ask, if a conflict resides latent in meatspace, does it make a noise? And the answer is:

Go find out what the answer is.

Or just head over to tell him that he’s wrong.