The star my daughter made for our tree this year. Copyright: The Sin City Siren
- Free to be you and me: Starting Dec. 1 the DSM-5 — the official guide-book in the psychiatry community — has stopped listing transgender as a mental illness! This, coupled with the UN Secretary General’s speech imploring the global community to stand with the LGBT community, will be marked in history as no less significant than when the DSM-4 dropped homosexuality as a mental illness. Indeed, it’s hard to fathom that we have come so far in such a short time to see images of gays and lesbians on TV, depicted as normal. And yet, we still must push against “tranny” jokes on late night TV. None of us are free and equal until we are all free and equal.
- The Big Game: As if I needed another reason to hate Notre Dame, two of their football players (allegedly) sexually assaulted two women (in different incidents). One of the women committed suicide 10 days after reporting the crime. Because the perpetrator in that case was found “not responsible,” the survivor of the other sexual assault decided to never press charges. (And both women reportedly received threats of retaliation if they pressed charges.) This not only highlights a disturbingly long list of universities who turn their backs on survivors of sexual violence, but it shows a very real and clear need for the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). 19 percent of college women experience attempted or completed sexual assault. VAWA answers specific needs of college women, but goes well beyond campuses. Indeed, the GOP seems determined to block VAWA reauthorization unless protections for Native American women are dropped. Because why should all women be protected, right? This is some serious bullshit!
- The Costco effect? The next time someone starts to argue with you when you tell them you don’t shop at Walmart because they treat their workers like crap, encourage sweatshop labor, and hurt the tax base of communities all over America, share this little gem with them: Costco pays their workers better and with better benefits than Walmart and still has a higher stock price! The proof is in the pudding. When our corporate citizens do right by people and communities, we all benefit!
- Is there lab work? Where’s an Edmonton cop when you need one? Apparently, a part of some college orientation classes are workshops on “how to avoid rape,” as someone posted on Tumblr. I’m guessing sitting with an aspirin between your legs and staying away from the evil spirits of alcohol are part of the program. I thought university was supposed to be the setting for higher learning.
- Fiscal Cliff: There, I said it. Are you happy now? But seriously, there are a lot of people, including the LGBT community, who will be hurt if (when) funds are cut off. Let’s face it, if we go over the cliff, it’s the Republicans who will be happy as conditions will favor the wealthiest one percent while conditions for those who need safety nets services and other stop-gaps against poverty, homelessness, hunger, lack of health care — and don’t forget programs for the children — will be thrown to the wolves.
- Coat hangers. Really?! So, it finally happened that anti-choice activists went full-circle. I feel like going all Mommy Dearest right now… NO MORE WIRE HANGERS!
- Pass the fruitcake: Actually, I like fruitcake (but I have yet to find a nut-free cake). But that’s beside the point. I’ve been following Grist’s #shiftthegift discussion about doubling-down on less materialism for the holidays. It might not be the coo-coo idea you think. According to one of their tweets, “According to a national survey, more than 3 in 4 Americans wish that holidays were less materialistic.” If you’re intrigued and want a place to start, check out the Simplify the Holidays Pledge. There is also this post, Nothing Corporate Holiday Shopping.
- Bah humbug! You know what I didn’t want to think about? How “Baby It’s Cold Outside” might be the merriest date rape anthem of all.