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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