Face Time Works

Teenager Taylor Alesana in a video about Transgender Day Of Remembrance (YouTube)

Teenager Taylor Alesana in a video about Transgender Day Of Remembrance (YouTube)

Transgender people are at 25 times greater risk of abuse, assault and suicide than the general population, the study authors note. And as transgender rights come increasingly into the public eye, advocates fear that this could prompt a backlash against an already marginalized community.

During the south Florida effort, Broockman and Kalla set up an experiment in which 56 canvassers went door-to-door and encouraged active perspective-taking with 501 voters. They were asked to think of a time when they had felt mistreated for being different. The scientists also canvassed a control group of respondents about recycling. The researchers followed up with online surveys at three days, three weeks, six weeks and three months.

The scientists found that those who were asked to do analogic perspective-taking were significantly more likely to exhibit a higher tolerance toward transgender people than those who were in the control group. The effect, the researchers said, represented an even greater attitude change than the shift in American attitudes between 1998 and 2012 toward gays and lesbians.

“They’ve made their entire process enormously transparent,” Paluck said in an interview, “so that’s one reason to trust in the results. They’re part of a growing number of social scientists who have been responding to concerns about psychology, social science and economics and how untransparent their results are.”

Full Story Here. The Advocate has also covered this story. I don’t find this surprising in the least. The governor of South Dakota ended up vetoing their transgender hate legislation after meeting with transgender representatives and allies. I expect most people have a nebulous, fearsome image in their heads which is based on absolute ignorance. Being faced with regular people is probably enough of a shock to get people thinking.

Unfortunately, bigotry is still going like a world on fire, and Kansas, Tennessee, and SC are all jumping on board.

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Caucasians Logo, Yeah.

Sports journalist Bomani Jones speaks to ESPN (screen grab)

Sports journalist Bomani Jones speaks to ESPN (screen grab)

Sports journalist Bomani Jones got Twitter buzzing on Thursday after he appeared on ESPN wearing a shirt with the word “Caucasians” in the style of the Cleveland Indians logo.

“I don’t blame Bomani for being a disgrace, I blame @espn for allowing it,” a viewer named Jimmie wrote. “@bomani_jones who hurt you? I’m serious, I don’t want ppl in pain.” [Christ, I might die of irony poisoning here.]


“The reason they won’t get rid of Chief Wahoo — it’s completely indefensible — is because they can still sell stuff with it,” Jones added. “They can say they’re going to deemphasize it, but they’re not going to set money on fire.”

“If you’re quiet about the Indians and now you’ve got something to say about my shirt, I think it’s time for introspection.”

Full Story Here (Video at the link). ICTMN also covered this story. In a related story, Cleveland Indians Fan Apologizes to Native American For Red Face.

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Cool Stuff Friday


Photo © Mattia Menchetti

When Given Colored Construction Paper, Wasps Build Rainbow Colored Nests.

It’s unnerving to discover a wasp’s nest dangling outside your house, but perhaps it would be a tad less so with the help of biology student Mattia Menchetti who cleverly realized he could give colored construction paper to a colony of European paper wasps. By gradually providing different paper shades, the wasps turned their homes into a functional rainbow of different colors.


© Waldo Nell

The Extraordinary Iridescent Details of Peacock Feathers Captured Under a Microscope.

In this series of photographs featuring the delicate details of peacock feathers, photographer Waldo Nell relied on an Olympus BX 53 microscope to take hundreds of individual shots that were combined to create each image seen here. The process, called photo stacking, blends dozens or even hundreds of photos taken at different focal points and then stitches them together to extend the depth of field. At this level of detail the feathers look more like ornate jewelry, thick braids of iridescent necklaces or bracelets, rather than something that grows organically from the wings of a bird.

By day Nell is a software engineer in Port Moody, BC, Canada, but is fascinated by technology, science, and nature, all of which he merges in his photography practice. You can see more of his work on Flickr.

The Gay Agenda Agenda

NOTE: There is new content, but The Gay Agenda will be sticky for a week.

This is an art project I’ll be backing as much as possible. All the snide and bigoted comments over the years, all the fear-filled rhetoric about the Evil Gay Agenda™ coming to get you, Barbara. Now, we can all have a real Gay Agenda. The Queer Pop Mafia has a kickstarter to fund The Gay Agenda, A witty, beautifully illustrated, totally serious, and just as ridiculous, weekly planner full of LGBTQ history, people, & ideas.


example of an “ABC page”… S is for Stonewall


An elegant, thoughtful, and practical personal planner spanning a full calendar year; 52 weeks minimum, maybe more. In addition to standard features, the distinguishing aspect with this annual agenda is a beautiful presentation of people, events, and ideas that we find appropriate for the first-ever, official Gay Agenda.

Important ideas, vocabulary, and history will be highlighted, figures we admire and respect will be introduced, and relevant issues will be mapped out in ways that motivate a critical mass towards a society with equal rights for all. Nothing less. And perhaps a whole lot more.

As you can imagine, publishing is very expensive. The vast majority of our fundraising goal is dedicated to the production, printing, binding, and distribution of The Gay Agenda.

26 original ink drawings of LGBTQ figures and allies from present and past, each accompanied with a biographical narrative. We call these the “People pages.” Here is an example…


Please help us make this a participatory project. When making your pledge, be sure to include a suggestion as to who we should include as one of the 26 LGBTQ heroines or allies. We also welcome your suggestions for vocabulary, events, theories, and other ideas that fit the “ABC of the Gay Agenda” format. And honestly, there is very little format, if any. Here are some examples of what we’re thinking of for letters “A”, “S”, and “P”.

There’s a video and more of the featured art work at the site, have a visit, and if you can, become a backer and you can say you had a hand in creating The Gay Agenda.

ETA: I was asked for my suggestion for a LGBTQ person for Terry to draw, and my pick was George Takei, but I was sure he had already been suggested, but it turns out I was first, and Terry had been hoping someone would suggest him. I have a warm and fuzzy.

Bigotry & Backlash Roundup

Clockwise from upper left: Walter Robb; Tony West; Chip Bergh; Alex Dimitrief; Andrew Liveris; Brian Tippens; Steve Joyce

Clockwise from upper left: Walter Robb; Tony West; Chip Bergh; Alex Dimitrief; Andrew Liveris; Brian Tippens; Steve Joyce

Business Backlash Descends on Mississippi.

Major tech, hospitality, and automotive companies are speaking out about Mississippi’s new anti-LGBT law, which Gov. Phil Bryant signed Tuesday.

At press time, leaders of eight major corporations have signed on to a letter drafted by the Human Rights Campaign urging the state’s Republican leadership to repeal the law.

“Put simply, HB 1523 is not a bill that reflects the values of our companies,” reads the letter, noting that the business community has overwhelmingly rejected such discrimination, finding that a welcoming environment attracts the best and brightest employees. “We are disappointed to see the legislature and governor’s office pass discriminatory legislation… This is not a direction in which states move when they are seeking to provide successful, thriving hubs for business and economic development.”

In addition to impacting the ability of Mississippi companies to attract high-value workers, the new law “will also diminish the state’s draw as a destination for tourism, new businesses, and economic activity,” the letter states. “Discrimination is wrong, and we believe it has no place in Mississippi or anywhere in our country. As companies that pride ourselves on being inclusive and welcoming to all, we strongly urge you to repeal this bill.”


Tenn. Resurrects ‘Bathroom Bill’ Targeting Trans Students.

After effectively shelving a bill targeting transgender students last month, a Tennessee committee today advanced legislation that would bar transgender students statewide from using the restrooms or locker rooms that correspond with their identity.


The Tennessean newspaper reports that the committee’s willingness to reconsider HB 2414 after effectively scuttling it just a month before “came after Family Action Counsel of Tennessee sent emails to members of the community questioning their integrity.”

The Family Action Council of Tennessee bills itself as a conservative nonprofit “dedicated to protecting marriage and family, life, and religious liberty,” according to its website. The group’s mission, as stated on the site, “is to equip Tennesseans and their elected officials to effectively promote and defend a culture that values the traditional family, for the sake of the common good.”

“Our belief is that healthy families and communities come about when basic values from the Bible are embraced and upheld,” FACT’s “About Us” page explains.

At Least Four States Ban Official Travel to Mississippi.

Following the signing of the nation’s newest anti-LGBT law, signed Tuesday by Mississippi governor Phil Bryant, governors acted fast to ban official travel to the Magnolia State.

New York governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order on Wednesday banning all non-essential state travel to Mississippi, requiring all “agencies, departments, boards and commissions to immediately review all requests for state funded or state sponsored travel to the state of Mississippi, and bar any such publicly funded travel that is not essential to the enforcement of state law or public health and safety.”


While New York was the largest and most influential state to bar travel to Mississippi, Minnesota, Vermont, and Washington state took similar action, with Seattle’s out mayor, Ed Murray, also enacting a separate ban for his city’s employees.

Mississippi Could Lose Federal Funding for Passing Anti-LGBT Bill.

It was reported last week that North Carolina may lose federal funds for schools, highways, and education after passing an anti-LGBT law, and the Southern state might not be alone.

Mississippi could be the next state to face federal cuts, after passing an aggressive anti-LGBT law last week that allows businesses, individuals, and religiously-affiliated organizations to deny service to LGBT people, single mothers, and others who offend an individual’s “sincerely held religious belief.”

On Tuesday, Josh Earnest, the White House Press Secretary called the Mississippi law “outright mean-spirited.” The president and his administration have “long been on the side of justice and equality,” Earnest told The Washington Blade. When asked about “religious liberty” bills that have passed recently in North Carolina and Mississippi, he said, “some of the laws that we’ve seen passed that target LGBT Americans are not consistent with those values of fairness and equality.”

Diversity of Beauty

It’s nice to see that some people understand that there’s more to beauty than a rigid, near unattainable ideal.

Meet Katie Meade, the beauty industry's newest diverse face. Photo: Beauty And Pinups

Meet Katie Meade, the beauty industry’s newest diverse face. Photo: Beauty And Pinups

Former Special Olympics athlete Katie Meade is the new face of Beauty and Pinups, making her the first woman with Down syndrome to win a beauty campaign.


She went on, “People see me for who I am and they see me not as someone with a disability, but that I have ability. And I like to try new different things and I inspire women to do that. Beauty belongs to everybody.”

Yes, it does. I’m definitely with Katie on that one.

Time for a National Pee-in



An excellent commentary from Mischa Haider and Bruce Hay.


Collectively and openly, in their rainbow of appearances, they should enter gendered spaces in defiance of the segregationists. The movement needs a ground campaign, a peaceful series of “pee-ins” across the nation that will bring a face and an image to this struggle. Americans need to know that trans people exist and use facilities like any other person, and should not be intimidated or threatened for the way they look. The nation needs to see the diversity of transgender identities safely and peacefully using gendered facilities and standing up to threats to their humanity. They should understand that existence and acceptance of people born with nonconforming bodies is not what threatens the peace and safety of our society, but the violent threats and actions of those who cannot tolerate human difference.

Without such a public campaign that will raise awareness, even laws granting legal protections to trans individuals will do little to change the daily intimidation and violence that trans people face in gendered facilities. Organizations fighting to stem the tide of transphobic legislation should also work to inform the public about the rights of and the risks facing gender-nonconforming people using gendered facilities. Everyone would be well served if signs were posted explicitly stating that intimidation, violence, or threats will not be tolerated against any person in those facilities, regardless of how they look, and that anyone who experiences or witnesses such aggression should report it. Additionally, men who make murderous threats against trans individuals for entering bathrooms with their “wives and daughters” need to be held accountable.

Of course, we must all fight transphobic laws in the legislatures and in courts, tooth and nail. However, we will gain most by pushing hard for acceptance and equality at the same time as fighting off oppression. States like North Carolina are a lightning rod, for their blatant and outrageous legal segregation, but let us remember that even in Massachusetts, a bill granting trans individuals protections in public accommodations is languishing on the governor’s desk. Trans activists and advocates need to show our politicians that the cause for justice will not wait, and that we mean it when we say that the incitements to murder, assault, and suicide must stop now. A broad grassroots ground campaign bringing transgender Americans from across the spectrum openly and peacefully into the gendered spaces where they are comfortable, in front of the nation and the world, will show just that.

Let us resolve to be more visible. All of us, transgender and cisgender, in every shade and stripe of presentation. Transgender and gender-nonconforming people should determine for themselves who they are and which facility they use, and not be governed by the bigotries of the segregationist who, like the Walrus, conceals his violence with nonsense syllables.


I’m all for pee-ins. Everywhere. People having to pee while they are out an about should not be an issue, and it’s beyond absurd that it’s become such an issue here in uStates.

Mississippi Goddam

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant

Miss. Gov. Signs Sweeping Anti-LGBT ‘Religious Liberty’ Law


Mississippi now boasts the nation’s most aggressive anti-LGBT law, after Gov. Phil Bryant signed House Bill 1523 into law this morning.

The first-of-its-kind law will take effect in July, and allow businesses, individuals, and religiously affiliated organizations to deny service to LGBT people, single mothers, and others who somehow offend an individual’s “sincerely held religious belief.” It also directly targets transgender residents, effectively claiming that one’s sex assigned at birth is immutable, and will be the only gender recognized by the state.

The Republican governor announced that he had signed the bill in a tweet on Tuesday morning. It was accompanied by a statement contending that he signed HB 1523 “into law to protect sincerely held religious beliefs and moral convictions.”

“This bill merely reinforces the rights which currently exist to the exercise of religious freedom,” the governor’s statement continued. “This bill does not limit any constitutionally protected rights or actions of any citizen of this state under federal or state laws.”


“Gov. Phil Bryant’s decision to sign HB 1523 into law is unconscionable,” said Jody E. Owens, managing attorney in Mississippi at the progressive Southern Poverty Law Center in a statement. “This newly enacted law — like the draconian anti-LGBT laws in other states — uses the guise of ‘religious freedom’ to justify discrimination, mistreatment and bigotry. It’s the same sort of rationale used by white supremacists in earlier eras to justify slavery and Jim Crow. The estimated 60,000 LGBT people in Mississippi deserve better. We need to stand up for the rights of all people.”

I don’t know what can be said here. I don’t know how to express the grief I feel. I don’t understand how people can be so filled with hatred and fear, yet think they are good people.


UPDATE: ‘#1 in bigotry’: Twitter unleashes its wrath.

CIPX and Going Platinum

Nakotah LaRance is a citizen of the Hopi Nation, six-time World Champion Hoop Dancer, and member of Dancing Earth Indigenous Contemporary Dance Creations. He is equipped with a game console, earphones, a Japanese graphic novel, and a dance hoop, to signal that he is both a traditional dancer and a fan of popular culture; he resists easy categorization. Photograph by Will Wilson (Diné/Bilagáana), b. 1969

Nakotah LaRance is a citizen of the Hopi Nation, six-time World Champion Hoop Dancer, and member of Dancing Earth Indigenous Contemporary Dance Creations. He is equipped with a game console, earphones, a Japanese graphic novel, and a dance hoop, to signal that he is both a traditional dancer and a fan of popular culture; he resists easy categorization.
Photograph by Will Wilson (Diné/Bilagáana), b. 1969


1992, from the Feather series “1992 represents a future denied us in 1492. A kind of reminder that indigenous people have a future that they can make their own.” Photograph by Larry McNeil (Tlingit/Nisga’a), b. 1955

1992, from the Feather series
“1992 represents a future denied us in 1492. A kind of reminder that indigenous people have a future that they can make their own.”
Photograph by Larry McNeil (Tlingit/Nisga’a), b. 1955


Will Wilson is a Diné/Bilagáana photographer who has gone platinum (the platinum photographic process) with CIPX, The Critical Indigenous Photographic Exchange. Another photographer doing the same is Larry McNeil (Tlingit/Nisga’a). You can read more about these artists at http://nmai.si.edu/indelible/.

A major exhibition featuring contemporary photographs by Native American photographers Zig Jackson, Wendy Red Star, and Will Wilson in dialogue with photographs from Edward Sheriff Curtis’ renowned body of work The North American Indian will be at the Portland Art Museum through May 8th. There’s more about the exhibit and the artists here: http://portlandartmuseum.org/exhibitions/contemporary-native-photographers/