In the Times’ “Booming” series, a famous concert pianist writes about her transition – being forced to fly to Thailand for the surgery she needed (and having that surgery botched), seeing her career opportunities dry up, facing legal housing discrimination. A move to Canada opens up more opportunities, but her home country — the United States — rejects her, then shifts a bit, but still doesn’t open its arms. And she’s “lucky” — she’s educated and talented and class-privileged. Her life isn’t tragic; she’s fine, and talented, and married to the woman she loves. But because her existence troubles some people, she can’t get gigs, can’t get an apartment, can’t get a job. So we lose her to other places that are more open. We lose trans women and men in worse ways — to violence, to hiding, to death. And for what, exactly?...read more
It’s like the sun rising in the east: Whenever the subject of harassment or stalking comes up, you invariably get a bunch of dudes barging in, insisting that the guy who followed you and screamed at you for not paying attention to him, the guy who groped you, the guy who tried to follow you home, the guy who kept looking you up and down when you were wearing a turtleneck at brunch with your friend, the guy who refused to accept the “no” and the “I’m not interested,” the guy who waited for you outside of your place, the guy who told you how the way you look gave him a boner, might have had Asperger’s or was somehow autistic. He just had problems understanding social cues/rules....read more
If a woman voluntarily gets an abortion, it’s murder, the Catholic church says. Because a fetus is an unborn person. If a woman uses hormonal birth control that might endanger a zygote, she’s a murderer, the Catholic church says. Because a zygote is an unimplanted person. If a slack-ass obstetrician can’t answer his damn pages and a woman and two potentially viable fetuses die, it’s a crying shame, says Catholic Health Initiatives, but there’s not much that can be done about it because fetuses aren’t people....read more
The NRA held a press conference today detailing their plans to prevent more mass shootings in the United States. Mass shootings now happen with some regularity, and your standard run-of-the-mill shootings where only one or two or three people are hit happen daily. The NRA’s response? Put armed security guards in schools, and create a national database of mentally ill people (what this database will be used for is unclear). A few thoughts:...read more
There’s a lot of talk about the role that mental illness may have played in the Sandy Hook shootings on Friday. It is important to emphasize the fact that mentally ill people are more likely to be the victims of violence than the perpetrators of it, and that most acts of violence — including deadly gun violence — are not at the hands of mentally ill people. And when it comes to crime, where we draw the line at “mentally ill” is not always easy. Someone can be deemed mentally competent to stand trial and still be severely mentally ill; someone can understand the wrongness of his actions and fail at adequately pleading an insanity defense and still be severely mentally ill. Our jails are packed with disproportionate numbers of mentally ill people....read more
Karen Handel, once senior vice president for public policy for the Komen Foundation during the Planned Parenthood defunding controversy, has accused Planned Parenthood of stealing… pink. She made the accusation to the Family Research Council at an event promoting her new book, cleverly and succinctly titled Planned Bullyhood: The Truth Behind the Headlines about the Planned Parenthood Funding Battle with Susan G. Komen for the Cure....read more
There are so very many things to say about this article and so little time to say them. But: I do think it’s valuable to discuss the reality of fertility and age-related health issues. Certainly an uptick in diagnoses of things like ADHD, autism, etc have contributed to their soaring rates, but there may also be environmental factors, including fertility treatments and older parents. And we know that chromosomal abnormalities are significantly more common in pregnancies conceived by older people. It is important to talk about all of that. At the same time, there are myriad benefits to having children later. Children of older parents tend to do better in school. Older parents tend to spend more time (and more quality time) with their kids. Children born to older parents are more likely to be raised in economically stable households with lower divorce rates. Those are all good things, and unsurprising — on average, adults make better parents than people who are barely adults, whose brains haven’t finished fully developing, who lack life experience, and who lack stability in their job, relationship and finances....read more
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was put up for a vote in the U.S. Senate today, and despite being largely uncontroversial, it failed. Why? Pro-lifers....read more
Today is Thanksgiving in the United States. There are many Americans who look to this day as a national day of mourning, and for good reason. In my family, though, we recognize the holiday, and like many others, we try to center thankfulness and love and our relationships with each other. Over at the Guardian today I’m writing about the things I’m thankful for.
This Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for my church.
Just in case you weren’t aware that the owners of some big-chain restaurants and huge jerks, check out this piece by Matt Yglesias highlighting the temper-tantrums being thrown by the owners of Applebees, Denny’s and Papa Johns over Obamacare. Their problem? Under Obamacare, small businesses don’t incur any additional tax burden; businesses that already provide health insurance are also in the clear; and so are businesses that pay their employees a living wage. But businesses that both employ more than 25 people and pay extremely low wages have to put some money into the health care system. The multi-millionaires who pay their employees pennies and are the beneficiaries of Republican tax breaks don’t like that, and they’re throwing fits:...read more
A recent Italian study claims that “women with the most severe form of endometriosis happen to be unusually attractive.”...read more
It’s October, it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the U.S. is awash in a sea of bubblegum pink. The most recognizable, of course, is that of Susan G. Komen for the Cure and their ubiquitous pink ribbon, pink t-shirts, and potentially carcinogenic co-branded pink products. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to help “end breast cancer forever”–catch it early, treat it effectively, and discover and eliminate the reasons it occurs in the first place–without going through SGK. The simplest way is just to go straight to the source....read more