Thursday, 3 May 2012

Peter Saunders promotes discredited ex-gay therapies

This canting hypocrite annoys me intensely. I follow his discussions with others on Twitter, I see the arrant and venonmous nonsense he posts on his blog, and it is glaringly obvious that Peter Saunders, who claims to be a Christian and a medic, renders a grave disservice to both Christianity and medicine. He equivocates like a jesuit ("Do you object to being labelled ‘homophobic’ when you are actually just ‘homosceptic’?") to cover his bigoted little arse and merrily ignores science when it doesn’t suit his agenda. He is, of course, a homophobe. This is very evident from his writings. In fact, for someone who claims to be a qualified doctor, straight and happily married for years, he’s remarkably obsessive about what other people do in the privacy of their bedroom. His latest hobby-horse is the long discredited and now repudiated “gay cure” therapy.

So, just to be clear about this, “gay cures”/”ex-gay therapy”/”conversion therapy” involve the following:
  • perpetuation of the myth that being LGBT is a mental illness;
  • normalising homophobia, including reinforcement of internalised homophobia.

There are different methods, depending on the organisation. Any combination may be used:
conversion therapy, some of which reads like the aversion therapy inflicted on the anti-hero of A Clockwork Orange;
  • psychoanalysis;
  • evangelisation;
  • torture, beatings and rape.

The results are always the same...

More of this foul man's loving Christian views here: Peter Saunders promotes discredited ex-gay therapies

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Robert Spitzer and ex-gay therapy: so, about that "choice"?

This week a bombshell rocked the LGBT community, and in a good way. A very, very good way.

One the other hand, it’s a total bummer for people like Marcus Bachmann, Care, Core Issues, Desert Stream Ministries, Exodus International, Living Waters, Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, not forgetting our old friends Eugene Fear-The-Peen Delgaudio and Dr Peter Saunders.

Why? Because in 2001 Dr. Robert Spitzer Presented a paper entitled Can Some Gay Men and Lesbians Change Their Sexual Orientation? at the American Psychiatric Association’s annual bash. Since it came from a self-styled “skeptic” who had previously led the movement to get homosexuality removed from the DSM IV and no longer considered as an illness, this opened the floodgates to self-styled “gay cure” therapists, often closely associated with the religious right. And in spite of the study’s conclusions having been robustly criticised from the outset, these parasitic purveyors of deluded quackery and evangelistic brainwashing continue to promote their fear-filled, hateful agenda...

Read the rest here: Robert Spitzer and ex-gay therapy: so, about that "choice"?

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Calling all Europeans: important LGBT survey

This is the deal: if you're not directly concerned, pass it on!

Take part in the biggest ever European LGBT survey.

The results of the survey will be published on the webpage of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) in the first half of 2013.

If you know of others who might be interested in taking part in the survey, please do forward the link. We would especially like to encourage older lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender persons to take part in the survey too.

List of organisations:

Please click here to see a list of relevant organisations that might provide you with further assistance if you have been discriminated against or have been victim of crime.                                     

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Sunday, 1 April 2012

A first time I could have done without

It's been a hot day in a busy, dusty town. We're all desperate for a cool drink before dinner and, as luck would have it, there are quite a few decent cafés nearby. The three of us find a table in the shade and wait for a waiter or waitress to take our order. Nothing happens.

We are being ignored completely. Nobody so much as glances at us, except a man who looks like a tramp but is probably the owner, from his demeanour. From where I am sitting I can see him talking to the barman, who is giving us some very nasty looks. We're not going to get served.

Fine, we'll pass it on. We know quite a few people in town, funnily enough. We find a small fast-food restaurant where the friendly, hard-working Muslim staff are quite happy to serve Anne-Marie, who has only just started transition and doesn't pass well at all.

She's used to it, poor soul. It's the first time in my whole life I have seen vicious small-minded bigotry at work. I think what made it worse is that they can't have missed her collecting funds for AIDS research in the square outside throughout the entire afternoon.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Just Plain Sense: Till Political Convenience Do Us Part (reblog)

Christine Burns has just published a very important article about marriage (and civil partnership) equality rights for all, gay and straight, in the UK. You should read this. It's important.

The coalition government has begun a three month public consultation on equal civil marriage for same sex couples.
Central to this debate is the argument that having two kinds of legal partnership -- civil partnership for same sex couples and marriage for heterosexual ones -- is divisive and discriminatory. Why, if they are meant to be the same thing, should this difference persist? And, if they're not the same thing, does this imply that one is inferior to the other?
The government proposes to make civil marriage (the legal part of what heterosexual couples currently sign up to) available to same sex couples as well. They're not proposing to impose changes on the religious aspects of marriage.
At the same time the coalition proposes to retain civil partnership for same sex partners who don't want the new option, but not to open it to opposite sex couples.
Arguments against all aspects of these proposals will consume the media during the consultation period, and undoubtedly again when a Bill is debated in Parliament.
All this noise threatens to erase the viewpoint of one group whose rights could be the "collateral damage" in whatever accommodation is made. These are the people whose interests I want to discuss.

READ THE REST HERE: Just Plain Sense: Till Political Convenience Do Us Part
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Sunday, 18 March 2012

TSA Posts Info for Trans Travelers

National Center for Transgender Equality logo
Image via Wikipedia
This is a shout-out for TSA Posts Info for Trans Travelers - National Center for Transgender Equality's Blog. While this info is aimed at travellers in the USA, common sense dictates it should hold good everywhere. If it doesn't, then maybe your country needs a little more education in tolerance and awareness. In my opinion, one important point is missed: try to ensure that the photo on your travel ID at least looks sufficiently like you. This applies whether you're trans or cis, to be fair, but the problem is exacerbated for trans folk.

The UK allows you to update your photo if you've changed a lot since the last one. I would hope other countries do the same, although I'm not naive enough to hope this is the case throughout the more progressive world. But if you can, then change your photo. It might just make things go a little more smoothly.
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Think of the children!

Yes, dear Eugenes of this world, let's think of the children. More specifically, let's think about why you should find it morally acceptable to inculcate fear and intolerance. We'll address the issue of why you think sex is bad some other time. Suffice to say that perpetuating that idea is damaging a lot of lives.

This is from the excellent web comic Gutters, which specialises in commenting on the North American comics news. Those who read Archie should recognise the characters and the situation immediately.
Clicking on the image will take you to the original, full-size version with the authors' comments... And, unfortunately, a fair number of comments from the ignorant and fearful/hate-filled. Nevertheless, if you like American comics (yes, that includes Canada), you'll probably appreciate Gutters and its affectionate satire.

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Monday, 5 March 2012

UK Coalition for Equal Marriage - petition

Since the raving loony brigade are out in force in the UK - the all-comers champion is currently Cardinal Keith O'Brien, who likens same sex marriage to legalising slavery - I'm putting up a link to the C4EM petition for a little common sense and respect for your fellow (wo)man.

Four reasons to sign::
  • Marriage Is Unique

    On this one point we agree. Marriage is unique. It is a union of two people in love, for life, to the exclusion of all others. A commitment upon which one can build a home and a family. We just think it should be available to all who want that commitment.
  • Be Glad of Redefinition

    Marriage has not remained unchanged since the dawn of time. It has changed throughout history, adapting to each culture. In western culture it has more recently undergone changes to better protect the rights of women. Funnily enough, the Church of England (of which Lord Carey was head of as Archbishop of Canterbury) introduced divorce into marriage in the UK when it broke from the papacy. Divorce is the antithesis of marriage and the biggest change to the definition of marriage since its inception. Marriage changes all the time, and the churches themselves have been doing it. It isn't necessarily a bad thing.
  • Great Consequences

    If marriage is redefined (again), those who believe in the modern definition of "traditional" marriage will still be married. They will still have the same sexual-orientation. Peoples' careers will remain intact, the sun will keep shining, and toast will still have a tendency to land butter-side-down. Couples seeking to adopt or foster will still be assessed based on the needs of the child, as they should be. Also, if we're very lucky, schools might teach kids not to be massive bigots like their parents, and we'll be one step closer to a cohesive, mature, civilised society.
  • Speak Up

    We agree with C4M; people should not feel pressurised to go along with same sex marriage just because of political correctness. Take Ben Summerskill's advice: If you're against same-sex marriage you should marry someone of the opposite sex. The government will be launching a public consultation on proposals to bring in full marriage equality. This will provide an opportunity for members of the public to make their views known.
Sign here (UK residents over 16 only, I'm afraid. Yes, if you're a UK citizen abroad you're stuffed, but that's always been the case).

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Thursday, 1 March 2012 St Petersburg? Don't go there...

A message arrived today from our old friends at The news is not good: that horrific anti-gay bill in St Petersburg was passed on its third reading and there is now only one thing that can prevent it from becoming law.
The last 24 hours have been a whirlwind. We just delivered your 300,000 signatures demanding an end to Russia's "gay gag rule" to Russian embassies in 8 cities around the world! All Out members like you talked with embassy staff, delivered giant "postcards," and got major coverage in international media1.
But it's not over yet. As we expected, lawmakers in St. Petersburg just voted to pass the catastrophic bill that would impose fines of up to $16,700 for "offenses” like organizing a local pride parade or a student Gay-Straight Alliance. The Governor now has just 14 days to reject the law - enough time for a final, critical push.
During our global flashmobs yesterday, we made a video highlighting just how absurd this law is - and we paired it with the music of Russia's own iconic, revered (and gay) composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky. We stayed up all night, but it was worth it! It cuts straight to the heart of why we're speaking out and will inspire others do the same ... if we get it out there. Will you take a minute to watch this video, and share with your friends, family and colleagues? We want to get 100,000 views in the next two weeks - the timeline for the Governor to veto this shameful bill.

Tweet it, reblog it, post it to your wall, put it on your blog - if each one of us takes one minute to share this far and wide, the Governor and other decisionmakers in Russia will have to think twice about the damage this law could do to their city's reputation. Check it out here.

We cannot stand by while our friends in Russia are pushed underground or their speech is criminalized. If the Governor signs the bill into law, simply writing a book with a gay character, mentioning LGBT rights on air, or even holding hands with your partner could be considered illegal "propaganda" in Russia's second largest city.

The conservative lawmakers who advanced the bill think St. Petersburg's governor will ratify it despite an international uproar. But Governor Poltavchenko can't ignore the fact that Saint Petersburg is Russia's #1 tourist destination - or that tens of thousands have already publicly pledged not to travel there as tourists if this backward law is signed. If we can get more people to watch this video - hundreds of thousands - then the Governor and his advisors will soon realize they have a PR disaster on their hands.

Please, watch this video and share the message now. To Russia, with love:
Alberto, Andre, Erika, Flavia, Guillaume, Jasmin, Jeremy, Joseph, Oli, Tile and Wesley

1. Washington Post: Russia ‘gay propaganda’ proposal to be protested Tuesday

2. Russia Gazette: Gay activists organize ban on St. Petersburg

All Out is bringing people together in every corner of the planet and of every identity - lesbian, gay, straight, bisexual, transgender and all that’s between and beyond - to build a world in which everyone can live freely and be embraced for who they are.
Our mailing address is:
Purpose Foundation
224 Centre St
New York, NY 10013
Copyright © 2012, All rights reserved.
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Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Will St Petersburg torpedo its tourist trade? (Petition)

Yet another call to action. This bill wouldn't just force everyone back into the closet, it would deadlock the closet and throw the key into a supernova.

Dear Jay, 
We just heard the news: in less than a week Russian lawmakers are expected to pass a law that will silence millions by making it a crime to read, write or even discuss anything “gay." Even worse, if this law passes in "liberal" St. Petersburg, the ruling party's next step is to push this law nationwide.
The Governor of St. Petersburg is our last chance to stop this bill: he has the power to veto it. So with your help, we're going to hit him where it counts : in the City's wallet. 
Saint Petersburg is one of Russia's number one tourist destinations. That's why an international storm of bad publicity will force the Governor to think twice about the cost of signing this bill.
We have less than a week to act: add your name to this urgent call. Next week All Out members around the world are organizing flashmobs in front of Russian embassies and consulates - from New York to Buenos Aires, Paris to Delhi - where they will deliver your signature straight to the government's doorstep:
Conservatives in St. Petersburg intent on passing this "gay gag rule" believe they can casually dismiss calls from world leaders - and even the country's own international treaty obligations respecting freedom of expression. But at the same time, Russian leaders recently announced that they want to invest $11 billion dollars to build their international reputation and attract tourists from around the world. St. Petersburg, Russia's cosmopolitan "window to the west" is key to that strategy. But they can't have it both ways - a thriving tourist economy can’t coexist with a new law that will muzzle artists, writers, musicians and regular citizens who live in - or visit - the city. 
Imagine for a moment the new St. Petersburg - where newly empowered "thought police" can fine you for any mention of the well known fact that famed Russian composer Tchaikovksy, a St. Petersburg native, was gay. This law will censor millions of Russians, gay and straight - and silence any and all human rights organizations in Russia fighting for equal rights.
Will you take one minute to urge Governor Georgy Poltavchenko to veto the bill that is going to stain St. Petersburg's international reputation - an issue close to his heart?
Over the past few months over 270,000 people have joined All Out in denouncing the bill, and thousands of us have picked up the phone to call our foreign offices, pushing the US, UK, Germany, France, Australia and others to issue official condemnations. We have to keep up the pressure - now, more than ever.
We have less than a week before the final vote. Add your name to this call now: if the Governor feels that the world is looking, and that the good reputation of the city is at stake - he'll have to think twice before signing this odious bill into law:
Thanks for going All Out.
Alberto, Andre, Erika, Flavia, Guillaume, Jasmin, Jeremy, Joseph, Oli, Tile, Wesley

St. Petersburg: The Tourist Capital

“Russia will spend over $11 billion on programs aimed at promoting tourism to Russia through 2018.”

Russia: “Anti-Gay Propaganda Bill” Passes Second Reading

Mothers petition St. Petersburg to drop anti-gay legislation

All Out is bringing people together in every corner of the planet and of every identity - lesbian, gay, straight, bisexual, transgender and all that’s between and beyond - to build a world in which everyone can live freely and be embraced for who they are.
Our mailing address is:
Purpose Foundation
224 Centre St
New York, NY 10013
Copyright © 2012, All rights reserved.
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Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Peter Saunders: 10 reasons not to legalise same sex marriage - Plague of Mice

Let’s just overlook for a moment that a medical doctor expressing political opinions on a medicine-oriented blog is totally unethical. The problem is that the less desirable elements in UK society – the bigots – are latching onto gay-bashing as a hobby these days, presumably because they’re no longer allowed to say nasty things about immigrants, Jews/Muslims, Catholics/Protestants or coloured people. Atheists are fair game though. Trans people, of course, don’t exist and should stop this silly dressing up right away.

This particular Eugenesque idiot goes by the moniker of Peter Saunders. I feel a quick shooting-down of his more egregious outpourings is in order, even if many of his claims are the same as those already made by Eugene Delgaudio and FRC’s Tony Perkins… Which means that if the CMF were a US organisation, it would be at risk of being labelled a hate group by the SPLC. An interesting thought.

Read the rest here: Peter Saunders: 10 reasons not to legalise same sex marriage - Plague of Mice

JAMA censors circumcision critics |

This is important, so I'm reposting the introduction here. Male circumcision is currently being promoted by some as a prophylactic measure against HIV/AIDS. Obviously, nobody sane wants AIDS to spread. Equally obviously, there must be a sound medical reason for cutting part of your, or your son's, penis off.
The difficult part is sifting through the evidence and evaluating it. Here's one interesting take on the question.

Circumcision promoters given open slather

An extraordinary feature of the United States today is the widening gulf between popular and professional medical attitudes towards routine circumcision, and the sharp divisions of opinion among medical and health professionals themselves. On one side we can see a flood of attacks on circumcision on blogs, websites, Youtube and in the mass media; more and more young parents deciding not to circumcise their boys; increasing numbers of circumcised men voicing their anger and resentment at having been circumcised, and taking up the onerous task of foreskin restoration; and if that was not a sufficient indication of the way the wind is blowing, it appears that a significant number of Jewish Americans are also abandoning circumcision in favour of peaceful naming ceremonies. Given the swelling flood of critical comment, it looks as though the "tipping point" predicted by Geoffrey Miller is rapidly approaching.

Read the rest at: Tobian and Gray on circumcision in JAMA |
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Friday, 10 February 2012

Conservative does not equal bigot

A very moving plea for human rights and an eloquent reminder that right wing politics does not and should not equal narrow-minded self-centred stupidity.

A marvellous woman. You may need a handkerchief.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012 St Petersburg are at it again - stop the anti-LGBT law!

Dear Jay, 
This is unbelievable.
Tomorrow, political leaders in St. Petersburg are going to vote on a new law that will make it illegal to speak in public about being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.
Activists around the country are doing everything they can to stop it but they are afraid that it won't be enough -- the bill could even spread nationwide if we don't speak up.  They need support from around the world - and they need it fast.
Will you take 2 minutes to add your voice to our urgent call? We are in touch with embassies all around the world and will deliver the petition very soon:
Because Russia is powerful, most world leaders have stayed silent. But if we raise our voices now, we'll shine an international spotlight on the issue that will be impossible to ignore.
If the law passes this week in St. Petersburg, it could quickly lead to a crushing of freedoms throughout all of Russia. Moscow, the largest city in the country, already said they were looking into passing the same law - paving the way for officials to make it national. Our friends in Russia believe that stopping the bill in St. Petersburg can derail the plan to take this law nationwide.  Many around the world have been reluctant to criticize the ruling party led by President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin, but their party appointed both the mayors of Moscow and St. Petersburg and they've gone on record in support of the proposed laws.
Russia is already a dangerous place to be out and open as an lesbian, gay, bi or trans (LGBT) person. Courageous pride marchers were brutally attacked and detained by Moscow police last summer - for the simple act of holding their heads up high in public. If this bill passes, even the small victories that the LGBT movement in Russia has won will be wiped out - and pride marches, cultural festivals, and even the distribution of leaflets in the streets will be considered illegal.
Moments like this highlight exactly why we launched All Out just over a year ago: to stand with our friends around the world when they’re under attack, and to keep opportunistic governments from playing politics with fundamental rights. Please sign this urgent call, share it with your friends, and stand in solidarity with our brave friends in Russia - Coming Out, Side by Side LGBT Film Festival, and the Russian LGBT-Network - who are refusing to be silenced:
All the best and All Out,
Andre, Emmy, Erika, Flavia, Guillaume, Jeremy, Joseph, Oli, Tile, Wesley and the rest of the team at All Out

St. Petersburg's Anti-Gay Propaganda Bill Scheduled For A Second Vote
Draconian Bill Outlawing LGBT Activities and Gay 'Propaganda' is Back on the Table in St. Petersburg, Russia
Tolerance, not gay bans
Russia’s gays under attack as MPs back fines for ‘gay promotion’

All Out is bringing people together in every corner of the planet and of every identity - lesbian, gay, straight, bisexual, transgender and all that’s between and beyond - to build a world in which everyone can live freely and be embraced for who they are.
Our mailing address is:
Purpose Foundation
224 Centre St
New York, NY 10013
Copyright © 2012, All rights reserved.
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Monday, 6 February 2012 Petition to remove Transgender from DSM V

From the petition site:
There are serious flaws to the methodology being used by the APA in preparing the DSM-5. Flaws that in our case could contribute to missed opportunities for diagnosis, misdiagnosis and continued pathologization.
The accusations are being presented by the ACA which represents fully 20% of the psychiatry profession and are the ones who will ultimately decide whether to adhere to the DSM-5. As we all know too well most of have successfully transitioned in spite of the DSM, not because of it.
While The DSM is not used worldwide, it does have significant influence and the stigmatising of transgenderism as a mental illness can have serious repercussions. It's not the psychiatric profession that's the problem: most are smart enough to know being transgender isn't a medical condition; it's the politicians. They draw on manuals like this to justify making other people's lives more miserable than necessary, imposing administrative hurdles, barring us from bathrooms and changing rooms, putting us in the wrong jails, imposing sterilisation as a requirement to getting your ID changed...

Sign it, OK? You could be saving someone's life or sanity.

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Sunday, 5 February 2012

Planned Parenthood is LGBT-friendly

After all that outcry over the attempt by the Susan G Komen Foundation to stop giving money to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer checkups, which quite rightly ended in a giant economy size helping of stale egg being applied directly to the faces of the ultra-right wing creeps now running the Foundation. Not that they have changed their policy, they've just reworded it. Planned Parenthood can apply for future grants, but there's no guarantee they'll get a penny out of it.

Just to be clear about this: the vast majority of Planned Parenthood's activity isn't in abortion or even providing contraception or advice. It's in screening poor women for breast cancer.So if you're in the USA, give directly to PP, and drop Komen like a hot brick. If you need an extra reason, Komen has poured over $22 million into useless CAM (and they can't even spell 'complementary' right) since 1997. Plus that whole pink ribbon thing is really suspicious, when you look closer at it:

Need any more reasons for supporting Planned Parenthood? How about this: they're LGBTQ-friendly. They are so friendly that, not only do they not give a fuck about who or what you are, they even give advice specifically directed at youngsters with questions in the area. Go to their website and click on 'Teens' to find it.

So PP isn't just helping poor women, although that's already a huge "just". They're also helping LGBT people who otherwise might have trouble finding a doctor who's understanding, or just plain competent.

Thanks to the ever-vigilant Buck Angel for asking that important question on Twitter.

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Tuesday, 24 January 2012

My Only Reservation Is That Lavender Really Doesn't Suit Me

Like a one-hit pop band, eternally recycling the songs from their first and only album, the egregious Eugene just sent me an e-mail crowing about the passing of the abysmally moronic SB49 - the infamous "Don't Say Gay" bill - in Tennessee in May 2011. To be fair, Delgaudio's personal calendar is stuck at about 1935, so 2011 is already quite a leap forward in time for him.

SB49 restricted Sex Education classes in public schools to ONLY the biology of human reproduction.

It guaranteed children would not be taught ANY abnormal or perverse sexual behaviors.

But I want you to know what we were up against.

Outside the Tennessee capital, throngs of enraged homosexual activists spewed insults and hatred in typical fashion.

And on the blogs and on youtube, the Homosexual Lobby cranked up their obscene trash spewing machine.

Click here if you want to see one of their most offensive video smearing traditional values with lies.

Warning: it is laced with profanity so make sure the kids are out of the room.

Obscene trash, eh? Profanity, lies and smears? Oh, Eugene, you are such a tease. Now I have to watch it.

Well, I'll grant you they all say "fuck" a lot, but it's only a word. It's not going to do anything. In any case, if I had to choose between between a bunch of happy, lively, complex-free youngsters who swear a lot, and a prissy, hypocritical old closet-case who spews hatred... well, bye-bye Eugene and Fuck You.

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Sunday, 22 January 2012 "BIG VICTORY! Re: Lesbian Torture Clinics"

This just arrived in the email. Great news!

"After ten years of outcry, the nation of Ecuador -- through the Ministry of Public Health -- has entered into a commitment with civic organizations, and society in general, to deconstruct the belief that homosexuality is an illness and root out the use of torture in these clinics. We extend our thanks to all the men and women who signed our petition -- it's been an invaluable support in starting to change this reality." - petition creator, Fundacion Causana
Dear Jay,
This is the beginning of the end -- the end of women suffering physical and emotional abuse (and even torture and sexual assault) in Ecuadorian clinics trying to "cure" them of being lesbians.
All around Ecuador, countless women were being held against their will in hundreds of these so-called clinics. For ten years, a group of brave women in Ecuador who call themselves Fundacion Causana tracked down survivors, documenting their stories and bringing them to light. But the situation wasn’t changing.
Then, something incredible happened. A petition that Fundacion Causana had started on calling on the Ministry of Health to take action was signed by more than 113,000 people around the world. Suddenly, officials were ready to meet with Fundacion Causana and take responsibility for the violence against women and LGBT Ecuadorians happening on their watch. 
Now, the Ecuadorian government is working hand in hand with Fundacion Causana to eradicate these clinics from Ecuador, free the women trapped there, and run a national public awareness campaign to fight homophobia.
Sometimes, it takes a decade of fearless commitment before starting a petition on tips the balance. Sometimes, a movement is sparked by one person starting a petition. But almost everyday now, there’s a victory.’s mission is simple: to empower anyone, anywhere to start, join and win campaigns for social change. We’re excited to help you win your own campaign -- the first step is to start a petition. Just click here to get started.
Thanks for being a change-maker,
- Patrick and the team
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You have to make it better

English: Gender symbols for homosexuality (les...Image via Wikipedia
Every day it seems as though news of another LGBT murder or suicide hits the headlines. I wonder how many don't make it. I don't know which are worse, the horrific murders-by-beating, or the fact that several of the youngsters who succumbed to suicide recently had made "It Gets Better" videos.

The good news is: yes, it does get better. The bad news is: this doesn't happen overnight. The hardest news is sometimes: it's maybe going to be tough for you, but you can at least make it easier for those who'll come after. That is why I've chosen to do what I'm doing. Not just accepting and announcing my own transgenderism so that youngsters won't feel they have to either pass perfectly or hide away, but also by going out, mostly into schools, and promoting tolerance through understanding.

It's a part of the activities - or agenda, if you're one of those - of my local association. Educational establishments ask us to provide this service. We do workshops, with small groups (not more than 20), do a quick anonymous survey to find out how comfortable they are with the idea of someone they know being gay, then have a discussion based on their own ideas of what homosexuality is or isn't.

Sorry, Eugene and the other dick-fearing scaremongers, but teaching youngsters how to do it or encouraging them to try it is not on the agenda. That would be unethical. I know you only have a hazy notion of what ethical means, so here are some examples: if you're spamming; telling lies; or encouraging hatred of, and discrimination against, other people, that is not ethical.

If it makes you happy (so you can get all Outraged and Indignant), at the end we show a short film. It has a happy ending which involves two boys discreetly holding hands and kissing, after everyone - including themselves - has come to terms with their being gay. It's rather sweet.

Things to bear in mind: in a class of 20, statistically at least one is likely to be gay and several more will know, or suspect the existence, of a gay person in their entourage. Gay teenagers are around 13 times more likely to commit suicide than heterosexuals. In my country, this is considered a public health problem, not something for the pseudo-religious to rejoice over.
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Saturday, 21 January 2012

Eugene Delgaudio thinks he's above the law - Plague of Mice

We already knew the lunatic lone anti-gay crusader trading under the name of Eugene Delgaudio had not only a problem with reality, but also some difficulty in distinguishing between legal and illegal as regards his own behaviour. There’s the spam, of course: email harvesting and refusal to respect unsubscribe requests. We now have what looks suspiciously like proof that he uses harvested names and emails to sign his petitions, with neither the knowledge nor the consent of the individuals concerned. No, I have signed no petitions recently. Nor have I signed up to receive his vicious, lying and yet mind-numbingly repetitive newsletter. In fact, I haven’t even been near his website. One trick ponies only provide brief amusement, and Delgaudio’s trick isn’t even that good.

I got this unpleasant shock a few minutes ago. Now, don’t get me wrong: it’s not a shock because it arrived. Delgaudio doesn’t know that it’s rude to keep sending emails to people who have repeatedly informed you through all the proper channels that they don’t want them. No, the shock was due to the fact that he claims I signed a petition when I didn’t.

More shock horror revelations here: Eugene Delgaudio thinks he's above the law - Plague of Mice

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Eugenics is a nasty word, Sweden

It's been bubbling around the transgender community for some time, this anger. You see, as more of us finally come to terms with who and what we are, many of us are discovering that we are citizens of a country that will not let us live normal lives. In fact, we may be penalised for having tried to live a normal life.

There are countries where you cannot get your papers officially changed to reflect your gender identity unless you have been sterilised. Not only must you give up any chance of future parenthood - because, no, you can't get around it by freezing sperm or eggs - in some countries, you must never have been a parent.

There is a word for deciding who, in a human population, is allowed to breed, and who isn't. It's called eugenics. It is an infringement of a basic human right. You would not condone forcing disabled people to be sterilised in order to receive disability benefit. You would not condone forcing immigrants to be sterilised before they could be naturalised as citizens of another country.

There is no reason to believe transgender people make bad parents, any more than other human beings. For we are, indeed, human beings. Not a subspecies or alien parasite. We are perfectly normal people who happen not to identify with the gender role assigned us at birth, to the extent that it causes  psychological suffering. That is all.

The first country in the public eye for continuing to enforce bigoted, inhuman laws is Sweden. Not because the country is bigger or more important than others, but because it's normally a poster child for human rights and they recently had a chance to clean up their act.

They didn't. A small fringe group opposed the reform, and the Government pandered to them. How would you like it if you had to agree to be sterilised in order to have identity papers that match your face? are running a petition for ask Sweden to change its transphobic law. You can help. Please sign, especially if you're European.

Dear Jay, 
If you are a transgender person in Sweden wanting to change your legal gender, you are forced to undergo surgery that will render you permanently infertile and unable to have children in the future. That's right: in 2012, Swedish law still mandates forced sterilization in order to do something as simple as changing the gender on your driver's license.
Despite a massive push to repeal the law, including support from 90% of Swedish MPs, Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has stayed silent on the issue: allowing one small conservative party to block the change.
Right now a reform of the law is being debated in Sweden. We need a massive show of support across Sweden and Europe that finally convinces PM Reinfeldt to speak out and break the deadlock. Will you take one minute to sign our urgent letter? RFSL, the Swedish federation for LGBT rights, will publicly deliver our signatures directly to the Prime Minister and demand that he intervene right now:
Forced sterilization has a long and frightening history in Sweden. Beginning with programs in the 1930s that tried to eliminate certain "undesirable" traits in society by forcing individuals to be sterilized, Sweden has long grappled with the painful history of stripping from citizens what we now consider to be a basic human right. Even Prime Minister Reinfeldt has publicly called sterilization law a "dark chapter in Swedish history".
Now he has a chance to close that chapter for good. reform of the law is ready to be presented directly to the Parliament - where 90% of MPs are in favor of banning forced sterilization - but without a push from the Prime Minister, the conservative KRISTDEMOKRATERNA party will use its seat in the government to block the change.
We know he is on our side: whether you are straight, gay, lesbian, bi or trans, will you take a moment to raise your voice and ask Prime Minister Reinfeldt to take a stand for human rights?
Our friends at RFSL, the Swedish LGBT Federation, will deliver your signatures directly to the Prime Minister's office.
Thank you for going All Out.
Andre, Emmy, Erika, Flavia, Guillaume, Jeremy, Joseph, Oli, Tile, Wesley and the rest of the team at All Out
Sweden: Transgender actress mourns her "forcible sterilization" - Many countries typically seen as progressive on LGBT rights continue to mandate the practice.
Sweden keeps sex-change sterilization law
Human Rights Watch's Letter to the Swedish Prime Minister

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