Transgender center launches intersex group

When a baby is born the first question most people ask is “is it a girl or a boy?” The doctor takes a look at the baby’s genitals, if they see a penis the child is declared a boy, if the see a vulva the child is called a girl. But sometimes a child’s anatomy is not that clear cut, and sometimes the genetics, physiology or anatomy of person is more complex than the penis=boy, vulva=girl equation. The umbrella term “intersex” is used to describe people whose physical bodies, hormones or chromosomes lie between the male and female ends of the spectrum.

According to the Intersex Society of North America somewhere between 1 in 1,500 and 1 in 2,000 babies born in this country have genitals that fall between the strict male/female dichotomy. Additionally, several genetic conditions exist where people who may appear strictly male or strictly female have chromosomal combinations other than XX or XY, a combination of XX and XY, or the chromosomes associated with one gender and the body associated with another. With so many intersex people walking around, there is a fairly good chance that you know one.

But according to “Koomah,” the founder of the group, very few spaces exist for intersex people to talk about their lives. “Most of the social and support groups that I’ve encountered are online,” says Koomah. “I’ve encountered a handful of people both in and outside of [Houston’s] Transgender Center that are intersex-bodied but didn’t know anyone else who was. When I mentioned I was and spoke with them more in depth about my experience it seemed to be a great relief that their experience isn’t the only one.”

Koomah realised that their was a need for a group that would allow the intersex community to talk about their experiences. This realization led to the founding of the Transgender Centers Intersex group, which will have its first meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 7 pm at the Center (604 Pacific). The group is designed as an informal get-to-gether for those with intersex bodies and their spouses.

Koomah explains that while the transgender and intersex communities share many experiences the terms are not interchangeable. “While some intersex people do identify as transgender and some may choose to transition, sometimes the experience of being intersex is different,” says Kumayama. “Being intersex in childhood is radically different than the experience of other non-intersex folks, explaining your body to doctors can be scary, and making choices on things like transition or relationships are easier when you have people whom you share similar experience to talk with.”

—  admin

Sign of the times: Your bad grammer is the reason you suck

Far be it for me to critize someone else’s spelling or grammar. Over the years I’ve let slip my fair share of typos. Of course, none of them were in permanent foot-high lettering, so let the the criticism commence!

Found on Stanford betweeen Westheimer and Lovett

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I’ve got your pastors right here, Senator McCain

In his latest email to supporters, Tony Perkins cited his “frequent conversations over the last several months” with Senator John McCain about DADT repeal and related this exchange:

Senator McCain…asked me several times: “Where are all the religious leaders, where are the pastors?”.

Tony Perkins heads up the anti-gay hate group Family Research Council.

Senator McCain, I’ve got your pastors right here.  Back in September over 500 ordained clergy signed the Open Letter to Religious Leaders on Sexual and Gender Diversity and delivered a copy to every member of Congress, including Senator McCain.

The letter and the endorsements were sent to remind members of the Congress that millions of people of faith support the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons in society, including the right to serve in the military, marriage equality and banning employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Presidents and deans of leading seminaries and key officials at national denominations are among the Open Letter’s endorsers.

We ask the Senate to vote repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell this week, and pray that this Congress will repeal DOMA and pass ENDA before the end of the fall,” said Rev. Debra W. Haffner, the Executive Director of the Religious Institute. “As religious leaders, we believe we have an obligation to create a world that embraces the diversity and dignity of God’s creation. Members of Congress, can assure full inclusion.”

What’s more, over 3,500 clergy and other religious leaders from more than 50 faith traditions have signed the Religious Declaration on Sexaul Morality, Justice, and Healing which states:

Sexuality is God’s life-giving and life-fulfilling gift.  We come from diverse religious communities to recognize sexuality as central to our humanity and as integral to our spirituality.  We are speaking out against the pain, brokenness, oppression and loss of meaning that many experience about their sexuality. [snip]

God hears the cries of those who suffer from the failure of religious communities to address sexuality.  We are called today to see, hear and respond to the suffering caused by sexual abuse and violence against women and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons, the HIV pandemic, unsustainable population growth and over-consumption, and the commercial exploitation of sexuality.

The Declaration calls for “Religious leadership in movements to end sexual and social injustice.”

According to Harry Knox, a member of The President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and director of Human Rights Campaign’s Religion and Faith program:

“[Progressive] faith communities care about justice for everyone.” Therefore, “thousands of faith leaders are using social networking, their teaching and preaching opportunities, and their voices as prophetic leaders in the public square to amplify God’s call to remove the barriers to service for lesbian and gay people,” he continued.

“[F]aith leaders have been making their own congregants aware of how DADT harms gay and lesbian service members and also harms our country at a time when skilled members of the military are needed more than ever,” Knox said. However, advocacy on behalf of lesbian and gay servicemembers is not limited to the pulpit, he noted, adding that faith leaders: ‘also have been advocating with members of Congress about the need for repeal through events like the Human Rights Campaign’s Clergy Call lobby event and through clergy sign-on letters and letters to the editor. Retired chaplains have been speaking out to tell the truth about DADT and to tell their own powerful stories of pastoral ministry to lesbian and gay service members who were denied the freedom to serve their country simply because of who they are.”

If the Senator is interested in what the laity thinks, he is directed to the poll “Most Continue to Favor Gays Serving Openly in Military” released on November 29th by Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.
The poll found that almost every religious group surveyed supports repeal of DADT.  Only white evangelicals, a group making up about 23% of the American population, approached a majority opposing repeal (48%).  White mainline Protestants (62%), Black Protestants (52%) and Catholics (63%) all favor repeal of the ban on military service by open gays, lesbians and bisexuals.

Among those who attend church weekly, an even 40% both supported and opposed repeal of DADT.  At least 66% of less-frequent churchgoers support repeal.

Overall, a paltry 27% of Americans oppose the repeal of DADT.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Video: Uhm, except I’ve never used my pillow to clobber a minority’s civil rights!

This guy, Robert Rees, apparently hosts a radio talk show in Austin, TX:

Oh so wait: He just reversed the nouns? Ooh, how clever. Really. Quite Inspired.

But here’s the thing: No gay marriage activist — NO. GAY. ACTIVIST. — is seeking the right to force religious figures to marry gay couples. But most anti-marriage equality activists — MOST. EVERY. ONE. — is seeking to use personal faith objections to stop gay and lesbian couples’ *CIVIL* marriages. And not just marriages, but also right to fair employment (including military service), the right to keep all recognition of LGBT Americans from children, and the denial of basic protections in a number of other areas. Faith-based objections are not only being injected into bedrooms, but also into public accommodations, legislative chambers, some court opinions, armed forces recruitment centers, immigration offices, and a whole host of places where church separation, minority protections, and the concept of fair and decent citizenship demand more equitable treatment!

No gay person or gay couple or gay family, religious or not, is unfairly foisting his or her or their bedrooms into public life anymore than their heteroSEXUAL counterparts are. But this same comparison cannot be made between anti-LGBT people of faith and pro-LGBT people of faith (who are of course left out of Mr. Rees’ religion classification altogether). When talking about civil rights, the burden of proof is on the side that wishes to use varied, personal, ever-changing (and frequently hypocritical) interpretations of morality to deny constitutional fairness, not those who are demanding the latter to be independent from the former (i.e. demanding an accurate read of American freedom).

Good As You

—  admin

I’ve set up Facebook Fan pages for AMERICAblog Gay & AMERICAblog

AMERICAblog Gay Facebook Fan Page:

AMERICAblog Facebook Fan Page:

They’re more than “fan” pages, and in fact Facebook doesn’t even call them that anymore. In the case of a blog, they’re an another online venue in which we can gather and organize our readers. They also help us better share our writing around the Web. With Facebook, it’s ridiculously easy for you to indicate that you like, or recommend, a particular blog post (just click the “like” button below the title of the post on this page, or on the Facebook fan page, click the “like” button beneath the post itself. By clicking like, there will then be a short mention in your Facebook feed that you “liked” that particular blog post, helping us spread the article to others. There’s a lot more we can do as well.

So, if the spirit moves you, please use the box at the top of the next column to the right to indicate that you “like” the blog (or go over to AMERICAblog and do the same with its Facebook Fan box at the top of the page). Then when you see a particular blog post that you think should get larger distribution, click the “like” button. It’s that easy.

PS Soon I will no longer be feeding our blog posts to my own Facebook “page” or my personal page, so if you want our blog feed on Facebook, click the “like” button at the top of the next column, on the fan pages themselves. Thanks!


—  John Wright

How To Get Foursquare’s New ‘I Know If I’ve Got HIV’ Badge

Foursquare users have a new badge of honor to add next to "gym rat" and "barista." Starting next month, checking in to a HIV/STD testing clinic will earn you a special MTV-branded badge that's part of the network's "Get Yourself Tested" campaign. Tell the whole world you just got pricked and win an intangible prize!

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—  John Wright

Dallas could elect 1st gay judge

Judicial candidates John Loza, Tonya Parker among 4 LGBTs running in local races in 2010

By John Wright | News Editor
IN THE RUNNING | Dallas County District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons, clockwise from top left, County Judge Jim Foster, attorney Tonya Parker and former Councilman John Loza are LGBT candidates who plan to run in Dallas County elections in 2010. The filing period ends Jan. 4.

Dallas County has had its share of openly gay elected officials, from Sheriff Lupe Valdez to District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons to County Judge Jim Foster.
But while Foster, who chairs the Commissioners Court, is called a “judge,” he’s not a member of the judiciary, to which the county’s voters have never elected an out LGBT person.

Two Democrats running in 2010 — John Loza and Tonya Parker — are hoping to change that.

“This is the first election cycle that I can remember where we’ve had openly gay candidates for the judiciary,” said Loza, a former Dallas City Councilman who’s been involved in local LGBT politics for decades. “It’s probably long overdue, to be honest with you.”

Dallas County’s Jerry Birdwell became the first openly gay judge in Texas when he was appointed by Gov. Ann Richards in 1992. But after coming under attack for his sexual orientation by the local Republican Party, Birdwell, a Democrat, lost his bid for re-election later that year.

Also in the November 1992 election, Democrat Barbara Rosenberg defeated anti-gay Republican Judge Jack Hampton.

But Rosenberg, who’s a lesbian, wasn’t out at the time and didn’t run as an openly LGBT candidate.

Loza, who’s been practicing criminal law in Dallas for the last 20 years, is running for the County Criminal Court No. 5 seat. Incumbent Tom Fuller is retiring. Loza said he expects to face three other Democrats in the March primary, meaning a runoff is likely. In addition to groups like Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, he said he’ll seek an endorsement from the Washington, D.C.-based Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, which provides financial backing to LGBT candidates nationwide.

Parker, who’s running for the 116th Civil District Court seat, declined to be interviewed for this story. Incumbent Bruce Priddy isn’t expected to seek re-election, and Parker appears to be the favorite for the Democratic nomination.

If she wins in November, Parker would become the first LGBT African-American elected official in Dallas County.

Loza and Parker are among four known local LGBT candidates in 2010.
They join fellow Democrats Fitzsimmons and Foster, who are each seeking a second four-year term.

While Foster is vulnerable and faces two strong challengers in the primary, Fitzsimmons is extremely popular and said he’s confident he’ll be re-elected.

“I think pretty much everybody knows that the District Clerk’s Office is probably the best-run office in Dallas County government,” Fitzsimmons said. “I think this county is a Democratic County, and I think I’ve proved myself to be an outstanding county administrator, and I think the people will see that.”

Randall Terrell, political director for Equality Texas, said this week he wasn’t aware of any openly LGBT candidates who’ve filed to run in state races in 2010.

Although Texas made headlines recently for electing the nation’s first gay big-city mayor, the state remains one of 20 that lack an out legislator.

Denis Dison, a spokesman for the Victory Fund, said he’s hoping Annise Parker’s victory in Houston last week will inspire more qualified LGBT people to run for office.

“It gives other people permission really to think of themselves as leaders,” Dison said.

The filing period for March primaries ends Jan. 4.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 18, 2009.
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—  admin