If they don't count us, then we don't count

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Laverne Cox appeared Monday at the Social Good Summit on a panel with Shelby Chestnut, co-director of community organizing and public advocacyat the Anti-Violence Project and Cecelia Chung, senior strategist of the Transgender Law Center.

The subject of the Census arose.

Census data has historically focused on the binary gender options: male and female. Emmy-nominated actress and transgender activist Laverne Cox is critical of that fact. The census doesn’t include her, and people like her, by assuming everyone is born into the gender they will forever identify.

I was thinking that visibility is only part of the equation. We must have social policy, systemic change. And then I thought about the census. Systemically, this idea of the gender binary is very much institutionalized in the fact that we just don't count trans people.


Pure Happy

 photo corey_zpsvh6vuw9q.jpgErica Maison is the mother of five children in Detroit. One of her daughters is a transgender girl named Corey.

Erica told BuzzFeed News that Corey was always feminine, even from the time she was very young. “She loved to dress in high heels and dresses. In public she wore boy clothes — I just assumed she might be gay.”

When Corey was in the fifth grade she was bullied so badly her mother made the decision to pull her out of public school and begin homeschooling. It wasn’t until Corey was 11 years old that the mother-daughter duo came across a video of transgender YouTuber Jazz Jennings and everything suddenly clicked. “She said, ‘Mom, I’m just like her, I AM a girl.’

Once she was at home and free to be herself, Corey started gaining confidence and began dressing like a girl in public — which wasn’t always easy.

Her hair was still very short, and she still looked like a boy. People would give her dirty looks, and take pictures of her with their cell phone cameras. They would laugh, and point, and stare. I told Corey, ‘Every time someone points their phone at you to take a picture, you turn and smile and strike a pose!’ That really boosted her self-esteem. I wanted to teach her to turn anything negative into something positive.

--Erica Maison

Open Thread 9-29-15

Good morning 99percenters!
Morning news dump and music by the Doug Kershaw, The Ragin' Cajun.

Will TTIP Get Terminated? Negotiations Falter as Europe Balks
As EU-US trade talks flounder, France doesn't rule out 'an outright termination of negotiations'

While public opposition to the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)—the massive proposed "trade" deal between the European Union and the United States—has grown steadily since negotiations started two years ago, new signs suggest that official government backing is also faltering across Europe.

Ms. K. passes

 photo 28KROLIKOWSKI-obit-blog427_zps9f9dsjzv.jpgMarla Krolikowski was better known at her workplace as Mr. K. Mr. K. was a teacher at St. Francis Preparatory School in Fresh Meadows, Queens for 32 years before a complaint by one lone parent about the teacher's feminine appearance caused administrators to go ballistic.

Mr. K, for as long as we have known him, has always donned several gold hoop earrings, dyed hair, fashionable (but appropriate and professional) clothing, and well-manicured nails. This was never an issue amongst his students or their parents until that one student’s mother complained to the school.

His long track record of spectacular teaching seemed to carry no weight when a lone parent complained about his ‘feminine’ appearance back in 2011.

--Cristina Guarino, former student

Krolikowski was fired from her teaching job for "insubordination" in 2011, but fought back.

Marla Krowlikowski collapsed on September 20 and was taken to Nassau Communities Hospital, where she died. No cause of death has yet been determined. She was 62.

Perhaps it was a broken heart.

Bernie Needs Your Help

Bernie needs some help in creating a credible foreign policy that puts America on a path to dealing with the excesses, abuses and failed policy of previous administrations. His foreign policy also has to support his economic goals. It seems unlikely that the US can continue to support the enormous costs of military engagements, the ongoing costs of sustaining the veterans of those engagements, the costs of nation building in the countries where the US has destroyed infrastructure and created political chaos as well as the costs of an oversized global military footprint to maintain US hegemony at the same time as enormous investments are needed at home to rebuild infrastructure and provide for the needs of citizens.

If you are one of the millions of people who are tired of the endless wars of choice, the war tactics and equipment that seem to keep showing up in the hands of domestic police, the encroachment of the surveillance state on virtually everybody - among other things, then getting Bernie to commit to correcting those wrongs is the right thing to do.

Politicians never listen better than when they want something from you. This is the time to make your favorite politician a better representative of your interests.

It will have the benefit of making Bernie a better candidate. Whatever you think of #BlackLivesMatter, they engaged Bernie - and his platform, his performance on the stump and his currently proposed legislation are better for the challenge.

A roof over your head

When Jill Soloway accepted her Emmy for directing TransParent, she mentioned her transgender parent and said,

She could, tomorrow, go and try to find an apartment, and in 32 states it would be legal for the landlord to look her in the eye and say, ‘We don’t rent to trans people.’

For as long as Paola Ramirez has journeyed through her gender identity, she has been haunted by housing insecurity — first as a pained young boy living with her parents in Guatemala, then on her own as a gay man and, finally, as a transgender woman in New York.

Paola's studio apartment in Queens has a new owner, so her lease is up for renewal. But Paola is being told she cannot renew unless she presents some ID stating that her female name and gender.

I feel pressure.


Open Thread 9-27-15

Good morning 99percenters!
Morning news dump and music by Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings.

Reversing Climate Change: What Will It Take?

On the weekend of September 21, 2014, people in 162 countries joined 2,646 events to demand global reductions in the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that are generating climate catastrophe. An estimated forty thousand marched in London; thirty thousand in Melbourne; and twenty-five thousand in Paris. Some four hundred thousand joined the People's Climate March through the center of New York City. The climate protection movement had come a long way since 2006, when a march of one thousand through Burlington, Vermont proved to be the largest climate protest in American history. Yet, despite its exponential growth, whether and how the climate protection movement could realize its goals remained an open question.