RNC Transgender Ad

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The National Center for Transgender Equality is part of Fairness USA, a partnership that includes the Freedom for All Americans Education Fund, the Movement Advancement Project, the Equality Federation, the Equality Ohio Education Fund, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Today we are launching a major public education campaign — the first of its kind — to raise awareness of the need for protections for transgender people across the United States.

The centerpiece of the campaign is an ad that will be aired during the Republican National Convention. The ad depicts mistreatment and harassment that many transgender people across the country have faced and continue to face when they need to use the restroom.

Newly released survey data from NCTE shows that 59 percent of transgender people have avoided bathrooms in the last year because they were afraid of problems like being confronted by others. A shocking one in 10 (12 percent of) transgender people report they have been harassed, attacked, or sexually assaulted in a bathroom in the last year, and one-third of transgender people have avoided drinking or eating so that they did not need to use the restroom. In the majority of states, restaurant and store managers can legally stop transgender people from using bathrooms that match the gender they live as every day — or kick them out of their restaurant or store just for being transgender.

This is appalling, but we are no longer fighting this battle alone. Much like the state-by-state marriage equality battles, we have seen that when people get to know their LGBT colleagues, neighbors, and friends for who they are, their opposition weakens and their support grows. Today, as more transgender men and women step forward to tell their stories, and parents advocate for their transgender or questioning children, negative attitudes are challenged and hearts and minds open up. In truth, we’re a mishmash community like everyone else — some of us are raising children, most of us are regular working folks, and some of us are serving in the military.

Those who support us see us for who we are – people. And in the same way that they’ve opened their hearts and minds, so too have voters across the country. Just last month, Quinnipiac University released findings from three swing states in the presidential race — Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania — showing that support for transgender people is on the rise.

I think that’s a great ad, and it shows all people what we need to do – to view and treat all people as people. When we see someone’s rights being blocked, we need to step in and stand up.

Full story here.

Cops, Bigotry, Cops, Bigotry…

Louizandre Dauphin's selfie after he was pulled over by police (Photo: Instagram)

Louizandre Dauphin’s selfie after he was pulled over by police (Photo: Instagram)

First up, for a change, a story from Canada, where a man was confronted by cops for reading while black.

Louizandre Dauphin of Bathurst, New Brunswick snapped a selfie of his arched eyebrow for Facebook with red and blue police lights flashing behind him. The former high school English teacher pulled had over by the water to read a book by C.S. Lewis. All he wanted was a nice quiet place to read his book. But he had been pulled over.

The officer said that they had received several calls from concerned citizens who said that they saw a “suspicious person” on the wharf. He left his teaching job and now serves as the city’s director of parks, recreation and tourism, which might be why he sought out the city’s wharf as a place to read. But his appreciation of nature isn’t why he thinks people called to complain, The Province reports. He thinks it is because he’s black.

Full Story Here.

Shutterstock.

Shutterstock.

The Seattle Police Officers’ Guild, the union that represents the city’s police officers, has scrubbed its social media accounts less than a week after suggesting the Black Lives Matter movement was to blame for the fatal shootings in Dallas, The Stranger reported.

Not only was the guild’s website offline, but a Twitter search for its account came up empty as of Monday, as seen below: (See image at linked story.)

As the Seattle Times reported, the guild’s Facebook page was also taken down, just days after a post commenting on the Dallas attack by saying, “The hatred of law enforcement by a minority movement is disgusting” and adding the tag #Weshallovercome, a reference to the Civil Rights Movement protest song.

Geekwire published a screenshot of the post prior to its deletion, which can be seen here:

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Guild President Ron Smith, a detective with the department, said at the time that the post was criticized because people took it out of context.

Oh. Always a good sign when someone decides to go full court Sam Harris, and scream context. There really isn’t any complex context to consider here.

“Somehow some folks were offended that police officers are disgusted at the level of violence directed toward law enforcement officers across this country by the vitriol spewed by a small segment of society,” he said.

So, people of colour are a small segment of society. Interesting. If that’s the case, why are all these white bigots so damn upset, screaming at how white people are a minority and will soon become extinct? You don’t get to have this both ways. Also, Mr. Smith, if people of colour are such a tiny segment of society, why in the hell are almost all extrajudicial murders by cops happening to PoC? Something smells, don’t you think? Full Story Here.

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Teen confronts white couple over racial statements (Facebook/screen grab)

Live Facebook video caught a Texas couple shouting racial slurs at an African-American teenage girl.

According to Media Takeout, the girl was dining with her family after church at Chester’s Hamburgers restaurant in San Antonio and began streaming the encounter live on Facebook after the couple made racial statements.

“So, Facebook, this is what racist people look like,” the girl announces to her followers.

Both families tell each other to “shut the f*ck up” before the white man begins calling the black family “god damn n*ggers.”

“You’re a f*cking n*gger!” the white woman wails.

“This is what racism looks like!” the teen recording the video shouts back.

“F*ck you, honky!” one of the women in the black family exclaims.

“I can be a honky! I can be cracker too!” the white man yells.

“Take your n*gger ass back to Africa!” the white woman says.

“I was born right here in America!” one black woman points out.

“My ancestors owned your mother f*cking ass,” the young white woman squawks. “My ancestors owned your ass, bitch.”

The woman adds, “Black people don’t belong in America.”

[…]

They call us monkeys and n*ggers and nobody is paying attention. You know, I had to record it to let you all see. Because it’s real in San Antonio too. For everyone who thinks it’s not real, it’s real in San Antonio.”

“That’s the problem though,” she notes. “You can’t fight these people because that’s how you end up in jail.”

And right there is a prime reason that white people need to be good, strong allies in this fight. Don’t be silent. Don’t turn your back. Don’t look down. Don’t tell yourself “this isn’t my fight.” It is your fight, it’s the fight of every thinking, decent person, and a lot of the time, you won’t find yourself up against stone asshole racists, like the ones quoted above. You’ll be facing nice people who think they are good, and decent and kind. And for the most part, they are right in that self-assessment. But they don’t know enough, and they don’t think enough. I found myself in that situation at the pain clinic yesterday, laying on a slab, half naked, with a needle in my spine. For a moment, I considered letting the remark about those poor cops slide, then thought “no, you cannot do that.” So I didn’t. Talk, even when you think “eh, not the right time”, talk anyway. You never know when you can get another person to think deeper, and they’ll end up wanting to know more.

Full story here.

 

This is who I am, I shouldn’t be ashamed.

Signal boosting an important message.

Speaking our truth! The #TransEmpowered women featured in the new Empowered campaign from Greater Than AIDS get real about love, life, and HIV.

There are more videos here. Watch, listen, share. This is important. No, it’s more than that, it’s crucial. Face time makes all the difference. Many people don’t know a transgender person, which makes it easy for them to hold on to their bias. Sharing these videos will help people to understand that bias, and overcome it. This is a very simple way to help enact great change. Please, do your part.

Faces.

A woman confronts stormtroopers. Credit: Jonathan Bachman/Reuters

A woman confronts stormtroopers. Credit: Jonathan Bachman/Reuters. Source.

 

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A man being “detained”. Credit: Jonathan Bachman/Reuters. Source.

Jonathan Bachman/Reuters

Ieshia Evans. Credit: Jonathan Bachman/Reuters. Source.

 

Police arrest activist DeRay McKesson during a protest along a major road that passes in front of the Baton Rouge Police Department headquarters. (Max Becherer/Associated Press)

Police arrest activist DeRay McKesson during a protest along a major road that passes in front of the Baton Rouge Police Department headquarters. (Max Becherer/Associated Press).

 

A man being "detained" by stormtroopers. Credit: Jonathan Bachman/Reuters.

A man being “detained” by stormtroopers. Credit: Jonathan Bachman/Reuters.

 

Another person being "detained". Credit: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters.

Another person being “detained”. Credit: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters.

#All Plates Matter.

All too often black people are met with incredulous dismissal when we talk about the realities of being black. These realities– police brutality, extrajudicial executions, public humiliation, etcetera–inform the sentiment behind #BlackLivesMatter. #BlackLivesMatter is a hashtag, a movement and a mantra. It means that black people are suffering. When black people say that our lives matter, when we use the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter, it denotes recognition of that suffering.

On the contrary, #AllLivesMatter contributes to black suffering. It’s the moral equivalent of telling someone who just stubbed their toe, “all toes matter.” Like, we know all your untouched toes matter, but can we focus on alleviating the pain of the person with the stubbed toe? #AllLivesMatter has become the rallying cry of those bereft of critical thinking faculties.

Here’s a skit that breaks down the canyon between #BlackLivesMatter and #AllLivesMatter hilariously and creatively, right down to the metaphor of choice. Created by Peace House, a hub for creative and politically thought-provoking comedy, the skit succinctly nails down the frustration of being black in 2016.

Via Safy-Hallan Farah at Paper.

Once You’ve Broken the Law, There Is No Safe Space.

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The stormtroopers in Baton Rouge have been particularly scary the past few days, and their more than questionable behaviour continues. Cops everywhere have been making up little Catch 22s that will see people arrested no matter what. Prior to DeRay McKesson being arrested, people were told to get on the sidewalk. When Protesters pointed out they were on the shoulder, because there wasn’t a sidewalk, they were arrested. In Baltimore, bus service to the protest area had been stopped by cops. Cops told people to disperse, but many of them had no way to do that because there were no buses. So, arrested for not dispersing. Ieshia Evans was arrested for impeding traffic, while that massive line of armored stormtroopers blocking the street was somehow just dandy for traffic. Now, when a homeowner offered her property as a safe place for protesters, the cops twisted about and came up with excuses to roust and arrest people anyway, saying there is no safe space, because you know, you just fucking might break the law at some point.

Hundreds of people in Baton Rouge who were peacefully protesting on private property Sunday evening were thrown into the street by police—and then several were arrested for being on the street.

Approximately 500 people had gathered at France and East in downtown Baton Rouge after first coming together at a nearby Methodist church to protest the police killing of Alton Sterling. Meeting the protesters were about 100 officers in riot gear. A homeowner gave the protesters safe refuge on her front lawn so they would not be arrested for being in the street.

“No justice, no peace!” they yelled.

After 90 minutes of peaceful assembly, police charged the crowd for no apparent reason. Protesters scattered, many running down a side street. Those protesters were then arrested for obstruction of a highway.

A wall of riot police then pushed the scattered protesters further away, block by block, and arrested some at the front of the crowd. “Clear the streets and leave the area!” one officer shouted through a bullhorn. “This is an unlawful assembly!”

The homeowner told CBS News she was “stunned” by police behavior.

“I kept telling them: ‘This is my property, please do not do that, I live here,’” she said. “They just looked at me and ignored the things I was saying.”

Lt. Jonny Dunham of the Baton Rouge Police Department said the protesters were arrested for previously breaking the law by obstructing a public passage by trying to get on an interstate on-ramp. “Once you’ve broken the law, there is no safe space.”

Throughout the confrontation, police threatened to arrest all journalists without credentials.

Allow me to emphasize that statement: “Once you’ve broken the law, there is no safe space.” We are fucked. All of us. If there’s no reason to arrest, they will make one up. Arrests will be justified on the basis of possible intent. Welcome to the dystopian nightmare.

Via Daily Beast and Raw Story.

Heartsick

NC

This is now war. Watch out Obama. Watch out black lives matter punks. Real America is coming after you. – Joe Walsh.

No. No. Racism and guns cannot help. They can’t “win”. Racism, guns, and cops being allowed to murder people of colour got us here.  Rescue those shreds of humanity, please. Listen to Charles Blow:

“You can’t have selective outrage and selective grief” — @CharlesMBlow discusses the #Dallas shooting.

Remembering Native Code Talkers.

navajo_code_talkersNiles Aserat, a Navajo veteran, would like a little help to see that Code talkers receive the honour they more than earned, and deserve.

As so often happens in our American history books, the contributions of a group of volunteer Native servicemen called code talkers, has been severely understated. Code talkers were our warriors doing what they have always been inspired to do – protect their homeland, families and culture. Despite having often been harshly treated for speaking in their Native languages, these warriors valiantly served for the United States and by using their beautiful Native languages these hero soldiers became pivotal in helping to win two of the most crucial wars in U.S. history – World Wars I & II.

The buzz this 4th of July is a petition to get a National Native Code Talkers Day on the radar of the U.S. Senate. The campaign was begun by Vietnam Veteran and Navajo Elder, Niles Aserat. Now a resident of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Niles grew up on the Navajo reservation in Sanders, Arizona. Niles joined the Army in 1966 and saw firsthand the brutality of war. He and only one other man in his brigade of 178 men, survived a vicious ambush at the infamous battle of Hamburger Hill.

After reading a book about code talkers, Aserat found himself inspired to spread the word about their amazing contribution and self sacrifice which turned the tides of war in the favor of the U.S. During WWII, military Marine Corp recruiters visited the Navajo reservation and understanding the threat facing their homeland from foreign invaders again, the first group of 29 brave warriors volunteered and developed a sophisticated code which was never deciphered by the enemies.

The story at ICTMN is here. The Petition: National Day for All Native American Code Talkers. The website for the petition: Native Code Talkers.

Ken Burns Talks Trump.

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Ken Burns speaks to CBS (screen grab).

In an interview with the Daily Beast on a retrospective of his films, acclaimed documentarian Ken Burn spent the majority of his time discussing the candidacy of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump and what it says about America.

[…]

Discussing Burns’ film The Central Park Five — about five black teens who were wrongly convicted of assaulting a white woman in New York City — Burns recalled how Trump reacted at the time.

“He shamefully took out a full-page ad in all of the New York dailies asking for a restoration of the death penalty for two 14-year-old, two 15-year-old, and one 16-year-old innocent children,” Burns explained. “While New York State laws would not have permitted their execution, just the fact that there was a rush to judgment ought to be complete evidence of how temperamentally unsuited he is for the office he now seeks.”

Burns makes an excellent point here, in regard to Trump’s volatility. Trump is con man, always ready to twist in the wind, willing to change views in a heartbeat. All his viewpoints are on the repugnant side, which should be enough to scare people away, but it isn’t. Given that, people should seriously consider Trump’s eruptions into temper, and how that would translate in an office of high power.

“I find Donald Trump more of a super-predator. This idea that he can attack and attack and attack whole groups of people, and that we live in a media culture where that’s permitted to be tolerated—it’s the spectacle and not the truth of it,” he said. “An amoral internet permits a lie to travel around the world three times before the truth can get started, and we live in a place where lying is OK—where a lassitude develops where it doesn’t matter what the truth is—and that’s how it’s possible for someone like him to be advanced who is so clearly temperamentally unsuited and has no idea about governing.”

“The Republican Party has been extraordinarily successful at getting many groups of people to vote against their self-interest,” he continued. “Evangelicals are voting for Donald Trump. What part of Donald Trump reminds you of Jesus Christ? Trump lusts after his own daughter on national radio, talks about women’s bodies and breasts in such a disparaging way, and mocks them. How is this in any way Christian? When you make the ‘other’ the enemy, how is that Christian?”

Okay, that last question is silly. Christians are all about othering, it’s the lifeblood of their belief. If you don’t other, how you can get your self-righteous judgment on? (Yes, I know, #notallchristians.)

Full story here.

Elie Wiesel Has Walked On.

Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and renowned Holocaust survivor -- Shutterstock

Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and renowned Holocaust survivor — Shutterstock

Holocaust survivor and human rights activist Elie Wiesel died on Saturday the age of 87, reports Haaretz.

The Nobel Peace Prize recipient is best known for keeping alive the the memory of the Holocaust with his memoir “Night,” based upon his experiences as a teenager in the Auschwitz concentration camp.

[…]

Wiesel received numerous awards and honors over the years, including the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Grand-Croix in France’s Legion of Honor as well as being knighted as Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

In 1986 he was awarded the  Nobel Peace Prize for his role in speaking out against violence, repression and racism.

Night shook up my internal world when I first read it. Thank you, Elie, for that, and your tireless efforts to make the world, and the people inhabiting it, better. We have lost one of our warmest and brightest lights. If every day, we could be a bit more mindful, a bit kinder, it would be the best possible tribute to Mr. Wiesel.

Via Raw Story.