On speaking and writing about transgender issues

When it comes to discussing issues of gender identity and transgender issues, I must admit that I tread very gingerly simply because it is so new to me. Even though I personally know six people who are transgender, I don’t feel that I fully understand all the nuances involved and thus am cautious so as to avoid inadvertently saying something insensitive or even offensive.
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When did disaster press conferences become like awards speeches?

Cartoonist and essayist Ted Rall asks a good question.

This is for you older readers: when did news conferences become long-winded acceptance speeches?

I’m too young to remember for sure, but there must have been a time when, after a train derailment or a tornado or a flood or a race riot or whatever, public officials stepped up to the microphones to deliver a status update (“as soon as we learn more, we’ll let you know”), and perhaps some advice to the public (“avoid downed live wires, especially the ones that are sparking, like in that movie The Ice Storm”), answered reporters’ questions and left the stage.

Today’s news conferences are a dreary, undignified mélange of pro forma acknowledgements and sentimental pabulum.

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“100 Words That All High School Graduates – And Their Parents – Should Know”

In clearing out some old files in my desk, I came across a single undated sheet that had the above title and the following text:

The editors of the American Heritage® dictionaries have compiled a list of 100 words they recommend every high school graduate should know.

“The words we suggest,” says senior editor Steven Kleinedler, “are not meant to be exhaustive but are a benchmark against which graduates and their parents can measure themselves. If you are able to use these words correctly, you are likely to have a superior command of the language.”

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