Sunday, 29 November 2009

A Loss

Following up from a previous post, from the LA Times:
Mike Penner, the veteran Los Angeles Times sportswriter who made international headlines in 2007 when he announced he was transsexual and began working under the byline "Christine Daniels," has died.

Colleagues said today that Penner was found dead at his Los Angeles home and that suicide was the suspected cause of death. He was 52.
One in three of us don't make it. This is what that means in actuality. As Christine wrote:
It has taken more than 40 years, a million tears and hundreds of hours of soul-wrenching therapy for me to work up the courage to type those words
There is a limit to Human endurance, you see. It was too hard for Mike to become Christine. But it was too hard for Christine to revert to being Mike too.

Why do I do what I do? Why am I an "activist" when it goes so much against my natural desire for a quiet life? Because of fellow human beings who have been what I've been through, and have had it worse. Or for some reason don't have the sheer orneriness, stubbornness, tenacity, obstinacy, call it what you will, that is a part of my essence.

Because some people can only cry a million tears before they run out. I appear to have limitless reserves there. I know, because I'm digging in to them now, before going on to try to help those who can still be helped. Knowing that I won't always succeed, but doing it anyway, because someone has to. I'm in a position to do it, so it's my turn. It hurts so much to lose, but it's not as if I didn't know the odds when I started.

Excelsior, and time to start moving that mountain again, a teaspoon at a time. Who knows, maybe a million tears will wear away the rock.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Iso-propylethylphenylphosphine

That's the stuff I was exposed to on Tuesday.

The good news is that it appears it is extremely odorous. Worse than H2S. According to the RSC, only 0.5g were spilt, leading to concentrations on the order of 10 parts per billion. The smell was very strong in a volume of air about 10,000 cm metres. It would have been detectable over a volume possibly ten times that.

1 part per million would only have contaminated 68 cu metres under ideal conditions. Only 1/360 of a mole escaped.

This was enough though to cause people to flee the buildings because of the overpowering stench. Enough to cause rashes on some, headaches and dizziness amongst others.

The not so good news is that P(C3H7)(C2H5)(C6H5) is a relatively new molecule, and no studies have been conducted as to its toxicity. Breakdown products when exposed to air, water, and UV would include Phenol and Benzene. Carcinogens. Fortunately not dangerous at that concentration.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Hate Crimes in the USA - 2008

The FBI reported the following hate crimes involving actual physical violence in the USA in 2008:

Against Catholics, just for being Catholic:
1 Aggravated Assault, 3 simple Assaults.

Against Protestants, just for being Protestant:
3 Aggravated assaults, 3 simple Assaults.

So we're looking at 10 victims who were violently attacked, just for being Christian.

Much has been made of this in the Catholic Press.
Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, said the increase may be due to the Church becoming more vocal on life issues such as abortion and homosexual unions.

As the Catholic bishops take a stronger stance, he said, it filters down to the laity, and as more traditional Catholics become more vocal, they become targets for those who disagree with them.

“Unfortunately, it spills over into violence,” he said, adding that it’s just going to get worse before it gets better.


To put this in context though...

Muslims suffered the following injuries, just for being Muslim:
5 Aggravated Assaults, 30 simple assaults. 35 people. Three and a half times as many.

Jews suffered the following injuries, just for being Jews:
25 Aggravated Assaults, 58 simple Assaults. 83 people. Over eight times as many.

As for non-Trans gay people:
5 Murders, 6 rapes, 232 Aggravated Assaults, and 501 simple Assaults. 744 people raped, murders, or violently attacked.

Data on Trans people wasn't kept - until the recent Federal Hate Crime laws were passed, the FBI wasn't allowed to count hate crimes against trans people. But we know just from newspaper reports that at least 19 were slain.

Technorati Claim

9H549X5KZAPY

Phosphine

Yesterday, I came home early from my office at the Australian National University.

At about 2:30, a powerful and pungent odour started to permeate the PhD students room at the College of Computer Science. One rather like that of the solvents used in rubberised fabric. It soon became much, much worse, and the students started leaving. I stayed around finishing off "just one more thing" as the stench became overpowering.

Bad Move.

The smell was still pretty awful outside. But nowhere near as bad. I felt a little dizzy, but otherwise had no immediate ill-effects.

Our building is next to the Research School of Chemistry. We still haven't been told exactly what went wrong, whether some equipment broke down, or there was some operator error... we're used to the odd evacuation due to fires or sometimes explosions. But we had no warning, the usual safety alarms weren't sounded telling us to evacuate.

It appears that phosphine, or a compound of phosphine that releases phosphine when exposed to water, was released, and in large quantities. By the time the smell becomes apparent, it's already a toxic dose, and the smell in our room wasn't just bad as it was in the rest of the building, but overpowering.

The odour becomes detectable at 1-3 ppm. The concentration I was exposed to was at least an order of magnitude greater than that, possibly 2. Fortunately only for half an hour: it's the time of exposure that's most important, rather than the concentration. It's not cumulative, and there are no long-term effects unless poisoning is acute.

Symptoms become apparent within 24 hours after exposure. I have a raging headache, but no nausea, no dizziness, and at worst a mildly sore throat and slight cough.

The safety system appears to have completely broken down though, and the RSC still hasn't told us much apart from the fact that Phosphine compounds may have been involved. Usually they go to great lengths to preserve our safety for even the most minor accidents, but now no-one's saying anything.
Phosphine is the common name for phosphorus trihydride (PH3), also known by the IUPAC name phosphane and, occasionally, phosphamine. It is a colorless, flammable gas with a boiling point of −88 °C at standard pressure. Pure phosphine is odourless, but technical grade phosphine has a highly unpleasant odor like garlic or rotting fish, due to the presence of substituted phosphine and diphosphine (P2H4).
...
Phosphine is highly toxic; it kills at low concentrations.
...
Inhalation

Inhalation is the major route of phosphine toxicity. Odor is not an adequate indicator of phosphine's presence and may not provide reliable warning of hazardous concentrations. The OSHA PEL of 0.3 ppm is within the range of reported odor thresholds.
...
* Symptoms of phosphine intoxication are primarily related to the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems and may include restlessness, irritability, drowsiness, tremors, vertigo, diplopia, ataxia, cough, dyspnea, retrosternal discomfort, abdominal pain, and vomiting.
...
* Phosphine interferes with enzymes and protein synthesis, primarily in the mitochondria of heart and lung cells. As a result, effects may include hypotension, reduction in cardiac output, tachycardia, oliguria, anuria, cyanosis, pulmonary edema, tachypnea, jaundice, hepatosplenomegaly, ileus, seizures, and diminished reflexes.
...
Toxicity that occurs after inhalation is characterized by chest tightness, cough, and shortness of breath. Severe exposure can cause accumulation of fluid in the lungs, which may have a delayed onset of 72 hours or more after exposure

The symptoms I have are extremely mild, indicating no appreciable danger. At worst, it might give some anomalies in my next blood tests due in about two weeks.

I'll be drinking plenty of water though to ease the strain on my system and help flush it out. And maybe an aspirin or two, the headache is getting a bit worse now, 27 hrs after exposure ceased.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Science, Ethics, and Climate Change

Robert Tracinski covered the "Climategate" issue from the start, and his summary of the situation is still the best one - albeit made with a jaundiced eye.
In early October, I covered a breaking story about evidence of corruption in the basic temperature records maintained by key scientific advocates of the theory of man-made global warming. Global warming "skeptics" had unearthed evidence that scientists at the Hadley Climatic Research Unit at Britain's University of East Anglia had cherry-picked data to manufacture a "hockey stick" graph showing a dramatic-but illusory-runaway warming trend in the late 20th century.

But now newer and much broader evidence has emerged that looks like it will break that scandal wide open. Pundits have already named it "Climategate."

A hacker-or possibly a disillusioned insider-has gathered thousands of e-mails and data from the CRU and made them available on the Web. Officials at the CRU have verified the breach of their system and acknowledged that the e-mails appear to be genuine.
...
These e-mails show, among many other things, private admissions of doubt or scientific weakness in the global warming theory. In acknowledging that global temperatures have actually declined for the past decade, one scientist asks, "where the heck is global warming?... The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't." They still can't account for it; see a new article in Der Spiegel: "Climatologists Baffled by Global Warming Time-Out." I don't know where these people got their scientific education, but where I come from, if your theory can't predict or explain the observed facts, it's wrong.

More seriously, in one e-mail, a prominent global warming alarmist admits to using a statistical "trick" to "hide the decline" in temperatures. Anthony Watts provides an explanation of this case in technical detail; the "trick" consists of selectively mixing two different kinds of data-temperature "proxies" from tree rings and actual thermometer measurements-in a way designed to produce a graph of global temperatures that ends the way the global warming establishment wants it to: with an upward "hockey stick" slope.

Confirming the earlier scandal about cherry-picked data, the e-mails show CRU scientists conspiring to evade legal requests, under the Freedom of Information Act, for their underlying data....

I haven't looked at all the e-mails, though there are now searchable databases of them on the web. There's a lot of data there. But I've looked at enough to form some conclusions.

The majority of them admit an innocent explanation. Even some of the ones most publicised as egregious evidence of misconduct.

I can even accept as plausible, even most probably true on the balance of probabilities, that the data excluded from some of the graphs due to artificial date cut-off points was genuinely misleading, painting a faulty picture that would have been seized in by political rather than scientific opponents.

BUT.....

YOU PUBLISH IT ANYWAY.

You then explain *why* the data isn't comparable, what the systemic errors are, their source and an estimate of what the true situation is. You don't suppress inconvenient facts.



There appears to have been a culture of scientific corruption. They already knew what the answer absolutely had to be, based on years of experience, not all of which is easily explainable (and they may even be correct). They knew that any appearance of a situation contrary to the one they knew had to be the case would be misused to muddy the waters, purely for political reasons. They knew this. Absolutely. Totally certain. So they omitted this misleading data, because it was important. Because Large Issues were at stake.

And that is wrong. Because no scientist can ever be sure. If your theory is so wonderful, it must be able to withstand challenge. If the data is ratty, you publish it anyway, along with your explanation of why it's misleading. You don't "lose" it, nor suppress it, nor attempt to stop it from falling into that hands of those who would misuse and misinterpret it. Because *you may be wrong*. Those who you think are scientifically dishonest may actually be correct, and the data that you have is the only Truth there is. That thus and such a measurement was recorded (possibly incorrectly) from such and such a location (which may not be the actual one), at such and such a time (which again may be mis-recorded). That is the data. If it gives a misleading picture, you say why, and also propose an experiment which would show that your contention of a systemic error is correct.You don't just pretend it doesn't exist.

On my blog, I am a strong advocate for a particular position regarding biological sex and gender. In the process of elucidating this position, I've come across a few articles, a few data points, that apparently contradict a position I *know* to be true. So what do I do? I publish them, along with an explanation of why they are misleading. Well, mostly I do. Sometimes I can't come up with an explanation for them which is very probably true, or even true on the balance of probabilities. Then I *change my opinion to fit the facts* and publish.

This can be painful. It can complicate a lovely, simple, beautiful picture I've spent years painstakingly building up. But that is what we have to do, like it or not. In fact, we should be *more* sceptical of data supporting our position, and *less* sceptical of that which undermines it, just to try to balance our inherent bias towards "our position" because we're human.

They failed at doing this. Rather than being sceptical scientists, they became unconscious advocates of a view they knew to be true, regardless of the facts. They became exactly what they accused others (possibly with considerable justification) of being.

They became a horrible example of how easy it is to descend the road to perdition. A lesson to us all - and me in particular. I can easily imagine myself falling into the same trap.

That's why I give links to all the data I base my conclusions on. So that others can check. Because when it comes down to it, my trust in myself is - has to be - limited.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Rfc 1149 - CPIP - A Practical Implementation

From the BBC :
A Durban IT company pitted an 11-month-old bird armed with a 4GB memory stick against the ADSL service from the country's biggest web firm, Telkom.

Winston the pigeon took two hours to carry the data 60 miles - in the same time the ADSL had sent 4% of the data.

Telkom said it was not responsible for the firm's slow internet speeds.

The idea for the race came when a member of staff at Unlimited IT complained about the speed of data transmission on ADSL.

He said it would be faster by carrier pigeon.
It was on April 1st 1990, that rfc 1149 was written. This rfc specifies a protocol for IP over avian carriers, CPIP (carrier pigeon internet protocol).

Earlier implementations on UNIX showed relatively poor performance :
Script started on Sat Apr 28 11:24:09 2001
vegard@gyversalen:~$ /sbin/ifconfig tun0
tun0 Link encap:Point-to-Point Protocol
inet addr:10.0.3.2 P-t-P:10.0.3.1 Mask:255.255.255.255
UP POINTOPOINT RUNNING NOARP MULTICAST MTU:150 Metric:1
RX packets:1 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
TX packets:2 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
collisions:0
RX bytes:88 (88.0 b) TX bytes:168 (168.0 b)

vegard@gyversalen:~$ ping -i 900 10.0.3.1
PING 10.0.3.1 (10.0.3.1): 56 data bytes
64 bytes from 10.0.3.1: icmp_seq=0 ttl=255 time=6165731.1 ms
64 bytes from 10.0.3.1: icmp_seq=4 ttl=255 time=3211900.8 ms
64 bytes from 10.0.3.1: icmp_seq=2 ttl=255 time=5124922.8 ms
64 bytes from 10.0.3.1: icmp_seq=1 ttl=255 time=6388671.9 ms

--- 10.0.3.1 ping statistics ---
9 packets transmitted, 4 packets received, 55% packet loss
round-trip min/avg/max = 3211900.8/5222806.6/6388671.9 ms
vegard@gyversalen:~$ exit

Script done on Sat Apr 28 14:14:28 2001


For routine, regular data transmission of large files between two fixed points no more than 100km apart, bursts of data via carrier pigeon (or more conventionally, motorcycle courier) remain competitive with optical fibre. They make use of existing infrastructure rather than requiring massive investment.

It would be interesting to see where the crossover point occurs in various countries and circumstances: the smaller the files, the longer the distances, and the larger the list of addressees, the less advantage physical data transfer accrues.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

The Line

Click to enlarge this story of two young women.



From subnormality.

I've been told in various comments on my blog that I feel a sense of responsibility about matters of injustice. That I always did. I suppose that's true. But it all comes down to this : Which side are you on?

And I'm not facing the guillotine.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Coming soon to an economy near you




From CBS News:
It's another record-high for the U.S. National Debt which today topped the $12-trillion mark. Divided evenly among the U.S. population, it amounts to $38,974.34 for every man, woman and child.

Technically, the debt hit the new high yesterday, but it was posted on the Treasury Department website just after 3:00 p.m. ET today. The exact calculation of the debt is a 16-digit tongue-twister and red-ink tsunami: $12,031,299,186,290.07

This latest milestone in the ever-rising journey of the National Debt comes less than eight months after it hit $11 trillion for the first time. The latest high-point is not unexpected, considering the federal deficit for the just-ended 2009 fiscal year hit an all-time high at $1.42-trillion – more than triple the previous year's record high.

Monday, 16 November 2009

A Lunar Rainbow

First, about Project "M" :
Project M is a JSC Engineering Directorate led mission to put a lander on the moon with a robot within a 1,000 days starting Jan 1., 2010.
...
When will Project M begin? Next month? Next year? No, Project M has been “go” since Monday, November 9th.
Why? From Air & Space Smithsonian
Five weeks ago a crater from the LCROSS impact formed on the Moon. The pre-impact build-up had been sensational, but the actual event was largely invisible to observers on Earth. It was a different story on the Moon. The slowly growing impact ejecta curtain threw water ice particles and vapor far out into space. When the crater formed, flying ice particles could have refracted the glare of unfiltered sunlight into an “ice rainbow,” similar to those seen through very high altitude clouds on Earth. For a very brief time, a rainbow might have been visible to an observer standing on the lunar surface. And like its namesake, this rainbow is a promise – a promise that the Moon is habitable. It is an invitation to humanity to extend man’s domain to our nearest planetary neighbor.

The LCROSS science team’s initial analysis of ejected impact plume data found evidence for water. It appears that several other species, particularly some carbon substances also found in the cores of comets, may be present. The new results suggest that some lunar polar volatiles may have their origins from outside the Moon, deposited there over millions of years by the impact of comets and asteroids.
It means that apart from (possibly) a Gamma Burster, we as a species will survive. There is another place, apart from Earth, where we can live. It has the chemicals. It has the (solar) power. We can make subterranean habitats, and apart from any long-term physiological problems due to low gravity, we can live there, grow and expand. Even a low-gravity problem can be solved with centrifuges with slightly canted floors. Ones a kilometer in diameter wouldn't have to spin very fast, and could be built as large underground railways with carriages the size of large rooms on tilted tracks, moving at a constant speed.

(Hmmmm... I wonder if that idea's worth a patent... haven't seen it in any SF literature....)

It means that a dinosaur-killer only has a few centuries at most to get us.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Third Time Unlucky?

I live in Canberra, in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

Twice now, the local legislature has enacted provisions that would parallel the "Civil Unions" or "Civil Partnerships" that are found in other countries, which are deemed an acceptable alternative to marriage when it comes to same-sex relationships, and marriage itself is forbidden.

Twice, the liberal (ie Right of Centre) Federal Government has stepped in, disallowing such legislation. They can do that, because the ACT is a territory, not a state. It's about the only significant difference between the two concepts. Such intervention has only been used three times in Australia's history, all by the previous government. Once against the Northern Territory's legislation to legalise euthenasia under very strictly limited conditions, and twice against the ACT on this issue.

The Constitution gives power to the Federal Government over marriage law: that at least is consistent, even if the various states and territories differ when it comes to deciding what sex someone who is TS or IS is.

Now we have "hope and change", a Labor (ie Left of Centre) government. One with a strong rusted-in Irish Catholic Socialist faction.... and a Prime Minister who takes his Christian Beliefs very seriously, as he's said on multiple occasions.

From the Canberra Times :
Greens leader Bob Brown has vowed to lead the charge against any move by federal Labor to disallow the new civil union laws the ACT Legislative Assembly passed this week.

The ACT Government backed a Greens Bill which gave same-sex couples the right to legally binding ceremonies under the civil union laws the ACT Labor Government introduced last year.

However, the new laws are likely to be disallowed by the Federal Government, which believes such provisions ''undermine and mimic'' marriage between a man and woman. Senator Brown, who is openly gay, said yesterday he would ''find it incredible if Kevin Rudd simply rubber-stamped John Howard on this issue''.
...
''He [Mr Rudd] would genuinely need to inform his Labor representatives in the Senate ahead of time because they will cop it, and I certainly will lead a Senate disallowance motion if it comes to that.'' Senator Brown said it was unreasonable for territory laws to be subject to federal interference.

The ACT Government and Greens believe the legislation passed in the Assembly on Wednesday is consistent with the Commonwealth's constitutional right to legislate exclusively with respect to marriage. Just to be sure, the amendments included a provision that excluded from civil union ceremonies any couple that ''may marry under the Marriage Act''. However, this provision has angered one same-sex marriage lobby group, Equal Love, which argues it could also exclude transgender people.

Equal Love's Canberra spokesman John Kloprogge said, ''Our concern there was that it was unnecessary and exclusionary and would prohibit heterosexual couples and transgender and intersex couples from having access to official ceremonies. ''The ACT Government has taken the wrong policy approach by putting forward a flawed Bill just to appease the Federal Government.''

Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury, who introduced the Bill, said his advice was that transgender persons would not be excluded by his legislation unless they had legally changed their sex, as this would entitle them to enter into a marriage under the Marriage Act.
I'm still married: but it's a really good question as to whether I've changed my legal sex. From the Federal viewpoint, I have - the cardinal document is my immigration record. At the Territory level though, they go by the Birth Certificate. And as my UK BC is unchangeable because technically I'm Intersexed rather than Trans... I haven't.

So it looks like there's a possibility that, had I wished to dissolve my existing marriage, I could either get a same-sex Civil Partnership with a man under territory law, as I'm deemed male as far as the ACT is concerned, or get married to him under Federal Law, as to the Federal government, I'm female. The alternative is that I could get enter a "heterosexual" civil union with another woman, (it wouldn't be "same-sex" under ACT law as I'm male to them, remember) while being prohibited under Federal law from re-marrying the woman I'm married to currently if we divorce.

This illustrates once more the whole foetid absurdity of these legislative acrobatics, the loops, convolutions and exceptions, the lack of common-sense and basic humanity when it comes to institutionalising bigotry. Because stripped of all pretence and hypocrisy, that's what it is.

While claiming to "preserve the sanctity" of what I believe firmly is a genuinely sacred institution, the bigots make of it a mockery and a farce. Any argument that would otherwise be plausible about "preserving traditional concepts" of marriage, that it's a matter of respect for pure, simple religious belief is exploded by this whole nonsense. They just don't like gays, and don't like them so much, that annihilation of our basic human rights is acceptable. "Collateral damage" if they're charitable, a "Consummation devoutly to be wished" if they're not.

And incidentally, once again, Trans and Intersexed people get the shaft.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Xoie (pronounced Zoe)

High Drama in the Mojave. From MSNBC :
The contest reached its climax on Friday, when Masten's Xoie rocket made its million-dollar flight. "The drama has just been unbelievable," Stuart Witt, general manager of the Mojave Air and Space Port, told me when it was over.

The rules for the Lunar Lander Challenge's Level 2 contest required rocketeers to guide their remote-controlled craft through a complete round trip between one launch pad and a different boulder-strewn pad more than 50 meters (164 feet) away. Each leg of the flight had to last at least 180 seconds, and the rocket had to rise at least 50 meters above the ground. All this had to be done before time ran out on a 135-minute period.

Friday's launch came after days of ups and downs: Communication glitches twice ruled out launch attempts on Wednesday, and a fire that broke out on the launch vehicle spoiled the Xoie rocket's maiden flight on Thursday. The blaze was quickly put out, but not quickly enough to avoid doing damage to Xoie. That damage meant Xoie couldn't get all the way through the required course.

On Thursday night, the Lunar Lander Challenge judges said they would let the Masten team make repairs to the rocket overnight and give them one more chance to fly. The team worked all night to get Xoie back in shape.
...
The program, one of NASA's Centennial Challenges, was aimed at encouraging the development of new rocket technologies that could potentially be used in future spacecraft. The kind of power required to win the contest would also be enough for a lunar landing and ascent. But the current contestants don't expect to provide NASA with honest-to-goodness lunar landers anytime soon. Rather, they see the prize as an extra incentive to build vehicles capable of taking up suborbital space tourists, or putting small payloads into orbit.
...
Scorpius' average landing accuracy on Sept. 12 was about 34 inches (86 centimeters). The unofficial figures for Xoie were around 11 inches (28 centimeters) for the first leg of the round trip, and 4 inches (10 centimeters) for the second. The resulting average of 7.5 inches (19 centimeters) was enough to move Xoie ahead of Scorpius.
So private enterprise has not one, but two capable proof-of-principle demonstrators for the technology for Lunar landing. And all for the cost to the US Taxpayer of less than $2 million.

While the significance of a "proof-of-principle" prototype should not be over-estimated, and costs of a production model (even for cargo) would be many hundreds of times greater... it's still a small fraction of what it would have taken NASA to achieve. A very small fraction.

It's beginning to look like the relatively simple problems in Rocket Science are best solved by this philosophy. Certainly it should be tried. Scaling it up to hard problems, like high-capacity boosters is another matter, but there's lots of such (relatively) easy problems as this one which will require solution for us to go into space - and stay there. And it looks like we can solve them for 1% of the money that we thought it would cost.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Priorities

As reported in the New York Times about the events at Ford Hood, General Casey said:
"Our diversity, not only in our Army but in our country, is a strength....And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that's worse."
This "diversity" doesn't include Gay or lesbian soldiers of course. Far better to have someone with Islamofascist sympathies who might engage in a massacre than have loyal Americans in the US Army - if said loyal Americans are Gay.

From the AP some have a different view about diversity:

"The homosexual agenda is destroying this nation, OK, it's just a fact," (Oklahoma) Rep. Sally Kern said recently to a gathering of fellow Republicans outside the Capitol.

"Studies show no society that has totally embraced homosexuality has lasted, you know, more than a few decades. So it's the death knell in this country.

"I honestly think it's the biggest threat that our nation has, even more so than terrorism or Islam, which I think is a big threat," she said.
She's not alone.
(Colorado) Sen. Scott Renfroe, R-Greeley, went further, quoting Bible verses to argue that the state should not be condoning homosexual relationships. He called such relationships a sin, equal in some sense to murder and adultery, and noted one Bible passage says homosexuality is punishable by death.
And in Utah, Senator Chris Buttars said:
They’re mean! They want to talk about being nice — they’re the meanest buggers I ever seen. It’s just like the Moslems. Moslems are good people and their religion is anti-war. But it’s been taken over by the radical side. And the gays are totally taken over by the radical side.
...
And I believe that they’re, internally, they’re probably the greatest threat to America going down I know of.
Now you may believe that Homosexuality is a sin, based upon religious convictions. But to reject Gays from serving their country, while allowing Islamofascists to infiltrate because they're a lesser danger... seems to me to have your priorities askew.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Some for the Reference Library

Some excellent Definitions, and a really cogent exposition of the "True Transsexual" philosophy, where there are only two sexes, and TS people are unfortunately born with the body of the opposite sex. I happen to think that this is a reasonable first approximation, but only that. I disagree on what some would consider minor details, and others, vital ones.

It is the view that I used to hold before my own transition, by the way. It's convenient and simple, captures most of the truth, and is generally useful. Generally. Just don't look too closely at the fine details.

Anyway, although I don't agree with this simplification, Purple Speaks is a very good blog to learn about the HBS movement. Written by someone sane, rational, polite and witty. e.g. This one, that brought a smile:
There are people who do not know the difference between the medical condition of True-Transsexualism and the choice and perversion of transgenderism. That includes those who are ignorant, practicing perversion, Wikipedia writers, and people with agendas
On to Transsexual Surgery, its Pros and Cons by Anne Lawrence. To say that Dr Lawrence is "controversial" is like saying the core of a supernova is moderately warm. I disagree with her views completely on Autogynephilia (AGP) theory, and believe she is trying to universalise her own personal experience to everyone else. Views of her own experience that were the result of painfully honest introspection on her part. I also believe she's been most unfairly treated by many in the TS community, especially as regards allegations of personal misconduct which, after some investigation, I believe were the result of prejudice.

That doesn't stop me from believing that while she's excellent at data gathering, her conclusions are usually very iffy. But she has Integrity.

Anyway, it's about time I was a little less monocultural myself. If my opinions are valid, they can do with a bit of challenging.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Intersex Solidarity Day

From Intersex News:
Sunday, November 8, 2009

Intersex Solidarity Day - November 8

Herculine Barbin’s Birthday


The Organisation Intersex International would like to invite others to join us each year by commemorating November 8 as Intersex Solidarity Day. All human rights organizations, feminist allies, academics and gender specialists, as well as other groups and individuals interested in intersex human rights, are invited to show their solidarity by organizing workshops, lectures, discussions and other activities which deal with any or all of the following topics:

•the life of Herculine Barbin
•intersex normalisation treatments without consent
•the violence of the binary sex and gender system
•the sexism implicit within the binary construct of sex and gender

Please show your solidarity with the intersex community. Intersex rights are humans rights. Also, please sign our petition:
http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/solidarity-with-the-intersex-community.html

Friday, 6 November 2009

Identity Kit

What is Identity? If an axe had had several new handles, and one or two new heads, but there was always continuity, is it still the same axe?

Consider the painting, the Mona Lisa. Is a photograph of it the same as the thing itself? How about an exact and indistinguishable copy in the pigments of the time, brushstroke for brushstroke? Since the thing itself is not at Absolute Zero in a bose-einstein condensate, the arrangement of the individual atoms and molecules of the Mona Lisa now and the Mona Lisa now would differ over the time interval between your reading of the two now's. Does that make them different entities?

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Today's Battles

Again, more like this week's.

At the Belfast Post, quite a piece of work by one Aaron Tinney:
Meet the TRANSSEXUAL rape counsellor who saw vulnerable victims while wearing HIGH HEELS, LEGGINGS and LIPSTICK. Burly Keira McCormack, 47 — who used to be a quantity surveyor known as Kevin — was employed at the Nexus Institute in Belfast from 2005 to May this year.
The CAPITALS!!! are his.

My comment didn't make it through moderation. Others did though. Almost universally condemning the article.
This is the most scurrilous and disgraceful piece of transphobic reporting I have read in a long while. It totally breaches the PCC Code of practice when referring to transsexual people.
...
Keira is actually an extremely good counsillor, and really helped me after my rape experience, her manner and approach were always very professional.
...
This is an awesomely bigoted piece of writing. Really, really staggering. Ill informed, prejudiced, prurient, insulting, really jaw dropping. What century are you living in? What planet are you livingon that you think it is OK to write with such ignorant hate?
You know nothing of the history of this person, their qualifications, their abilities, who they have helped, why they were employed. Your vile assumptions are truly breathtaking.
Such comments would have been the exception, rather than the norm, just a few years ago. We're making progress.

From 365gay:
With Lindsay Lohan and Ellen and Rosie it’s starting to feel like becoming a lesbian isn’t quite as weird and rare as it used to be. But for an entirely different part of the LGBT community, the struggle is still in its early stages.

When I started dating women, it was far less controversial and scary to come out. The older lesbians I meet share their war stories and the histories I read make it clear to me how difficult the process could be, but it wasn’t part of my experience. Not to say things are perfect, but younger gay women in large cities – especially on the east coast – have to admit, things are a lot easier.

But, my generation also has seen a new visibility for the transgendered community. And that process – gaining access to hormone treatments, deciding on surgery or more than one surgery, coming out to parents and friends, navigating relationships when genders change – is one that is still very controversial and scary.

And there sure aren’t a lot of role models out there.
That's at least partly because like Lynette Nusbacher, if they're in a high-profile Television job, narrating military history, should they transition then their services areb "no longer required".

From my comment, when some homophobic trans individual berated the GLB(t) cause for being distinctly unhelpful, in the main, to trans people:
I’m homophobic too, just not to the same extent. I had no connection with the GLBT community until I transitioned, and have had precious little since then. I’m straight, and cisgendered. Boringly binary and conventional in everything but my body.

Three differences from her view – the first is that while it’s unfortunate that neither my partner nor I are lesbian, she didn’t abandon me, nor I her. Neither of us are attracted to each other, nor other women, we’re both straight. But love each other just as much as the day we married. Otherwise I’m one of the right-wing “secondaries” she despises.

The second difference is that having been dragooned into a “GLBT” camp against my will, I consider this a blessing, despite my homophobia. I’ve met so many good, courageous people who I never would have met otherwise. Yes, there’s the transphobic gays and lesbians like Julie Bindel, but there’s just as much homophobia in trans circles too, as exemplified by MelissaG. Just as some gays get riled by people who assume they’re “breeders”, so she gets riled by people who assume she’s gay, when she’s a straight female. Given HRC’s betrayal of trans people last year over ENDA, I can’t blame her overmuch, despite disagreeing strongly. The fact is, that as seen in New Hampshire recently, where Trans people were denied the rights that gays have had for a decade on the same day that the senate approved gay marriage, we’re often expended to further a gay-only agenda. Traded off for the greater good.

The third difference is that I see my homophobia as a personal failing to be overcome, not embraced.

You know, my partner and I pretend to be a standard lesbian couple in public? We’re closeted in that regard. Think of what that implies when it comes to how trans people are treated.

Ironically, technically I’m not even trans, but intersexed. I used to look male. I now look female. But I’m a protandrous dichogamous pseudohermaphrodite, one of the few humans who get a “natural sex change”. Not that it’s complete in most cases, some degree of medical intervention is usually required to clean up the ambiguous mess that can result.

If you think that trans people are marginalised, othered, and rendered invisible, just see how IS people are treated
Talking about Julie Bindel, her article in Standpoint is a monument to vitriolic transophobia. Some higlights :
Last year, I was nominated for the Stonewall Journalist of the Year award. This seemed fair enough since I write prolifically about sexuality and sexual identity. But I guessed that Stonewall would not dare give me the prize, because a powerful lobby affiliated with the lesbian and gay communities had been hounding me for five years. Six weeks later I, along with a police escort, walked past a huge demonstration of transsexuals and their supporters, shouting "Bindel the Bigot". Despite campaigning against gender discrimination, rape, child abuse and domestic violence for 30 years, I have been labelled a bigot because of a column I wrote in 2004 that questioned whether a sex change would make someone a woman or simply a man without a penis. Subsequently, I was "no platformed" by the National Union of Students Women's Campaign, a privilege previously afforded to fascist groups such as the BNP.
Hmmm... I wonder why that could be?
As a leading feminist writer, I now find that a number of organisations are too frightened to ask me to speak at public events for fear of protests by transsexual lobbyists.
Oh I see, it's because we're such a powerful and violent group, everyone's afraid of us. Gotcha.
Transsexualism, by its nature, promotes the idea that it is "natural" for boys to play with guns and girls to play with Barbie dolls. The idea that gender roles are biologically determined rather than socially constructed is the antithesis of feminism.

I wrote: "Those who ‘transition' seem to become stereotypical in their appearance — f**k-me shoes and birds' nest hair for the boys; beards, muscles and tattoos for the girls. Think about a world inhabited just by transsexuals. It would look like the set of Grease."
Nothing denigrating there is there? That's just halfway in page 1 of a 5 page rant.
Recently, an 18-month-old baby in Denmark was diagnosed as suffering from GD.
...
A trans-sexual "woman" will always be a biological male.
...
There is a handful of radicals in the world today who have dared to challenge the diagnosis of transsexualism. Those who do are called "transphobic" and treated with staggering vitriol.
Just as there is a handful of radicals in the world today who have dared to challenge the "lie of the Holocaust". Those who do are called "anti-semitic" and treated with staggering vitriol. Because, you know, that's what they are.
I had some support, some from those who had also experienced a transsexual-led witchhunt. I heard from post-operative trans-sexuals who had been railroaded into surgery and now regretted it. "Do not publish my name," said one, "but if anyone questions the validity of sex-change treatment you are sent to Coventry by the ‘community' elders."

A police officer who, during the course of his duty, was unfairly accused by transsexuals of "transphobia" was driven to a breakdown by their vicious campaign. An eminent medical ethicist who had dared to defend a fellow professional who had questioned the diagnosis of GD from a scientific point of view almost lost his career and reputation. And several women from feminist organisations have been bullied and vilified for challenging the "right" of male-to-female transsexuals to work in women-only organisations.
No names of course. Just like the "18 month old baby diagnosed with GD".
In a world where equality between men and women was reality, transsexualism would not exist.
...
Sex-change surgery is unnecessary mutilation. Using human rights laws to normalise trans-sexualism has resulted in a backward step in the feminist campaign for gender equality.
*SIGH*

It's not only lesbian feminists with regular columns in national newspapers, and thus quite considerable powers that dislike icky trans people. Though I think she has to be the only one who's so paranoid about their power.

From politico:
The federal government would be banned from funding sex change operations and other services for transgender individuals if social conservative activists get their way.

There’s no sponsor yet for an amendment to the health care overhaul – and it may remain in the dustbin of unrealized wedge issues – but culture warriors are shopping the proposal to Republican senators.

The language is written: “None of the funds authorized or appropriated under this act (or an amendment made by this Act) shall be used to cover any part or portion of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of” any sex or gender reassignment procedure, surgery related to such a sex change, hormone therapy for a sex change or pre- and post-operation treatments for a sex change.

A senior aide to a Republican senator said that a public insurance plan could easily end up covering sex-change procedures if that’s not specifically banned in the bill.
And that would be truly terrible, right? If someone gets complications from the surgery, and has a haemorrhage, then obviously they should be allowed to bleed out. Seves 'em right.

Fortunately, even here the comments are largely supportive of trans people. Larded with facts and education rather than appeals to emotion, too.

Finally, to the New York Times Magazine, and the article Gender Identity in Kids, which deals with the knotty issues of providing guidelines for children. "Where is the line between pushing your child and following his or her lead? Not just when it comes to gender, but to any preference in their life?"

Indeed.

My comment:
It doesn’t matter if you raise a child in the wrong gender. You can’t affect things significantly.

If they’re boys, they’ll know it. If they’re girls, they’ll know it. Sometimes at 3, usually by 7, always by 10 no matter what you do or how you treat them. Just let them mix with other kids, and it will be obvious to them which group they belong to.

And don’t be misled by play that doesn’t conform to traditional stereotypes. Yes, if a child likes to climb trees, play with toy guns etc then it’s very likely they will end up being attracted to girls. And if a child prefers playing with dolls and make-believe house, it’s likely they’ll end up being attracted to boys.

There’s no evidence that discouraging these play patterns, or forbidding them, has any effect. These things are set neurologically, before birth. What is important is not what the child is allowed or encouraged to do, but what comes naturally to them.

Usually, children with feminine bodies will end up being women. Some who are more than just Tomboys will end up being lesbian instead. And a few are actually boys who just look like girls, neurologically they’re male. Even if they were dressed in pink bunny suits when young, as Chaz Bono was.

This isn’t just trendy PC philosophising or ideology.

See seminar s10 at the APA’s annual meeting:
S10. The Neurobiological Evidence for Transgenderism
1. Brain Gender Identity Prof. Sidney W. Ecker, M.D.
2. Transsexuality as an Intersex Condition Prof Milton Diamond, Ph.D.

This doesn’t come from some “Gender Studies” or “Feminist” or “Leftist” group with a political agenda, but from fMRI scans and autopsies of neuro-anatomy.

So parents can take comfort - even if you get it wrong, you can do no great harm. Just as long as you don’t use extreme measures to fit a square peg in to a round hole when it becomes obvious that your initial assumptions were wrong. Just love your children, guide, but don’t stunt..
Some of the other comments were even better. It's not just that I'm no longer alone in fighting these battles, others are more skilled and more talented than I.

Maybe I can take a rest for a while. Goodness knows I could do with one.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Sometimes....

Sometimes, not always, maybe even not often, the Good Guys win.

I posted about the Same Old Lies a few days ago.

Now I'll quote from Trickster108 on the same issue. While I would have used less semantically-loaded words, what she says is true.
5. Florida: This state was the scene of one of the ugliest campaigns aimed at distorting the facts. The Gainesville City Council was to vote on amending their discrimination policy to include transgender protections. The culprit here is the hate based organization called Citizens for Good Public Policy. Their dirtiest trick was the creation of a video featuring an undesirable man in men’s street clothes lurking by a public bathroom in a park frequented by children. After a five or six year old girl goes into the bathroom, he is seen following her in. The footer reads “Your City Commission Made This Legal”. There is nothing to suggest their odious proposition that passing trans protections will legalize this kind of victimizing behavior. In a side note, one of the antagonists in this campaign of hate and lies, a CVS manager, admitted to filming women in his store’s restroom. Talk about perverts…
...
8. Maryland: As mean-spirited and nasty as Gainesville, FL., Montgomery County Maryland in metro DC was the scene of an equally disturbing battle. Like Gainesville, the dirtiness of the tactics was extreme, but perhaps even more scary was the degree to which bigots will go to defend their intolerance. The hate-spewing group here calls itself Maryland Citizens for a Responsible Government. In its attempt to undermine the County’s gender identity inclusive law about to take effect, the group and its president Dr. Ruth Jacobs allegedly collected 25,000 signatures to force a referendum. Sadly, they used illegal tactics to bolster that list of names, and Maryland’s highest court ruled against the referendum. One of the sleaziest tactics used by MCRG was to send a hetero male, dressed in drag, into a local health club to incite fear and panic. Their ploy was discovered and this group’s cover was blown.

Here's where they dressed an associate professor of Nursing in a Lab Coat and portrayed her as a "Doctor". Not incorrect, but obviously designed to mislead.



She doesn't actually live in Kalamazoo, but in Texas township nearby. On the other hand, I'm in no position to criticise: I live in Australia!

This explains her reasons for making this commercial:

Mary Ann Stark, a Western Michigan University associate professor of nursing, said she experienced “emotional upheaval” when she learned a man who was transgendered presenting as a woman shared her locker room at a local health club.
...
Stark said she is “sympathetic to people trapped in a gender they don’t identify with,” but wants to protect privacy rights.

“To me, this is the deal-breaker in this ordinance,” said Stark, who lives in Texas Township and cannot vote on the city ordinance. “I’m empathetic to the few people who don’t identify with their (biological) gender. But the rest of us still have rights to privacy and the sanctity of our rights not being defiled because they’re uncomfortable with their bodies.

This is a case where their rights would step on my rights.”
I think it's more a case of "we're uncomfortable with their bodies". But no matter.

Here's what I wrote to her:
Dear Professor Stark,

As someone who's Intersexed, I no doubt have a very different view to you on the "bathroom issue".

Be that as it may, now that 1856 has passed in Kalamazoo, how can we allay your concerns.

When a woman with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) and somewhat masculinised genitalia shares a locker room with you, how should we deal with the problem of your discomfort? You have just as much right to privacy as she does.What about a man - or a woman - with a female birth certificate, but who has 5alpha-reductase-2 deficiency (5alpha-RD-2) or 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase-3 deficiency (17beta-HSD-3), and masculinises from a mostly female appearance at puberty? As a clinical researcher in obstetrics, I'm sure you're familiar with such cases, and know just how many babies are born with overt disorders of sexual development. Perhaps you're not so familiar withn the many cases where Intersex conditions don't manifest symptoms till long after birth.

We need a comprehensive method of dealing with such problematic issues, ones that have obviously traumatised you in the past. Possibly a third, single-stall room, where people who are discomforted by the presence of those of a different race, or unusual genitalia, or of a different religion, can be assured of privacy. They have rights too.

Meanwhile, my sympathies on you having suffered such a terrible trauma, and my genuine admiration for having the courage to speak up for the rights of all who think as you do.We may differ on many issues, but your dressing in a lab coat in a medical setting, and passing yourself off as a "doctor" will no doubt cause you some issues in your profession. MDs tend to be rather jealous of mere PhDs, even if the PhD is in nursing, a medical profession I personally consider more demanding than theirs. May I hope that the issues are soon forgotten, and that a way can be found that means you feel safe once more.

Best Regards
Zoe E Brain
(who is a PhD candidate herself, so can only admire those who have made it through the other side!)
I meant it too, this was no hypocritical facetious attack. Being on the wrong side of many Human Rights issues has given me a degree of tolerance I didn't have before. To realise that those I see as wrong and even dangerous have human rights too, just as I do. Because I'm seen as wrong and dangerous by so many myself.

Anyway, the Result of the dirty tricks in Kalamazoo?
With only absentee ballots outstanding, 65 percent of Kalamazoo voters have approved Ordinance 1856 by a vote of 6,463 to 3,527, adding protections for gay and transgender people to the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance. This margin is larger than the number of outstanding absentee ballots that are currently being counted.
They voted nearly 2:1 for trans people's rights. Not against, for. And no 51:49 or even 55:45 margin either. 65:35.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

My Politics

Finally, the good folks of Rebellion, a neo-Confederate site (according to them slavery wasn't all bad... most of the darkies were happy knowing their place...) have come up with a phrase for such as I. Charles Johnson put it together, and although I don't agree with everything he believes (for example, I'm an anthropogenic global warming (AGW) sceptic), close enough.

I too am a "dangerous Neocon pro-war left-globalist secular revolutionary manipulator". Oh, and a Zionist too, even if I am a Shiksa.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Media Release

Further to a previous post, I'm a member of Sex and Gender Education Australia, and have given presentations to University students with Stefanie Imbruglia in the past.

MEDIA RELEASE:

30 October, 2009: For immediate release.
Sent on behalf of Stefanie Imbruglia and Sex And Gender Education (SAGE).

AUSTRALIAN PASSPORT OFFICE ISSUES APOLOGY TO TRANSSEXUAL WOMAN

Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT) agrees to issue appropriate passports to sex and gender diverse people and changeoffensive terminology in its training material to be more inclusive of diversity.

In July 2007, Stefanie Imbruglia, a 42-year-old transsexual woman (cousin of singer Natalie Imbruglia), applied to the Australian Passport Office to get a female passport so she could travel to Thailand for Sex Realignment Surgery. While she was registered as male at birth she had been living as a female for two years. To her amazement she was told by the passport officer at the counter that she would only be allowed to travel on a male passport even though she had lived as female for two years and had letters from her medical specialists confirming she had been undergoing treatment for sex and gender dysphoria.

Over the past 20 years the Australian government has issued a one-year limited passport for people registered male at birth, who lived as transsexual females who were going abroad for surgery. Under the Howard government the Minster of Trade and Foreign Affairs rescinded that right secretly in 2007 without any consultation with any specialists in the field, service providers or any members of the sex and gender diverse community. It is dangerous for transsexual women to have to travel abroad on male passports as they could be subjected to stop and searches, intimidation, arrest, violence and embarrassment.

Stefanie was subjected to ridicule by a passport officer, who insisted on calling “Sir” even though she had on a skirt and jacket and presented as female. When Stefanie arrived in Thailand for her surgery at the airport she was stopped by a passport control officer in front of all the other passengers on her plane and called to account for the discrepancy between her female appearance and male passport. The incident was highly embarrassing for her and forced her to have her medical history disclosed to the public against her will. Exactly what she warned the Australian DFAT would happen, did happen.

On returning to Australia, after surgery, Stefanie as a member of SAGE (Sex And Gender Education), a political lobbying group for sex and gender diverse people, decided to bring a case against DFAT with the Australian Human Rights & Equal Opportunities Commission (HREOC) now the Australian Human Rights Commission) AHRC). The case was that DFAT had knowingly placed Stefanie in danger by refusing to issue her with a passport that reflected her identity. It was in Breach of Article 12 of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) under the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986. The United Nation’s convention on human rights requires countries to issue citizens with documents of safe travel in and out of their countries.

Stefanie also filed a complaint that DFAT had been guilty of sex discrimination under the Sex Discrimination Act 1984. Since it had issued her with a female passport on her return from Thailand but refused to issue her with one before she went, it had discriminated against her because she presented as the same person on both occasions. The complaint also encompassed the way she had been mistreated by the officer at the passport office.

Over the ensuing two years the AHRC sought conciliation between the two parties. In the interim the AHRC had published its project in 2008 that looked into the human rights difficulties faced by people who were sex and gender diverse and concluded that many government departments needed to adopt a more positive and accommodating attitude to all sex and gender diverse people. For far too long this group of people has been excluded from fully taking part in society as government bureaucracy has failed to keep up with scientific knowledge and human rights. Within the past few weeks the conciliation between both parties has drawn to a close to end the case.

What DFAT agreed to:

1. A complete unreserved written apology to Stefanie for the way she had been treated.
2. The restoration of the right for people going abroad for sex realignment surgery to be given a passport in their appropriate sex and/or gender.
3. The recognition that some people who are intersex, transexed, transsexual, transgendered or any of the other sex and gender diverse identities may not be suitable to have genital surgery. They may, however, live in their preferred sex and/or gender roles.
4. That such people upon presentation of a letter from a medical professional would be able to have a permanent passport in their needed sex and/gender. Not all people are able to change their birth certificates or cardinal documents to reflect their identity. Each case would be considered on case by case basis.
5. That the phrase ‘medical professional’ would be interpreted as meaning a doctor, gynaecologist, endocrinologist, urologist, psychiatrist, endocrinologist, psychologist, psychotherapist, counsellor, sexologist, and social worker; in accordance with international standards of care for helping sex and gender diverse people.
6. An alteration to DFAT’s training material for employees that lumped all sex and gender diverse people under the umbrella ‘transgender’, which is offensive to many sex and gender diverse people. They changed their terminology to address Sex and Gender Diverse people’s needs and allowing those people to identify as they needed under the Sex and Gender Diverse label without discrimination.
7. The removal of an offensive training handout to employees that gave wrong and misleading information about sex, gender and sexuality diverse people to its employees.
8. That people presenting with no sex or gender on their cardinal documents may be considered for a passport that does not state sex or gender. This clears the way for parents of intersex children who do not wish to be forced into registering their children as male or female when that child may be strictly neither or both. Some adults identify as neuter and wish their documents to reflect that status.

Stefanie wishes to thank AHRC for its part in brokering the conciliation, DFAT for readjusting its position to afford equal human rights and appropriate passports to all sex and gender diverse people, to SAGE for its assistance in bringing the case before AHRC, and Dr Tracie O’Keefe DCH, ND, for her assistance in helping Stefanie bring the case.

More information can be found on Stefanie’s website www.stefanie888.com

FOR MEDIA INTERVIEWS AND COMMENTS:

Stefanie Imbruglia: Ph 0414 835 352
Dr Tracie O’Keefe, DCH, ND (SAGE spokesperson): 02 9571 4333 or 0403
398 808. SAGE website www.sageaustralia.org


I'm more into education than activism. But sometimes the authorities won't let you not be an activist.

Here's what I wrote when I was in the midst of my own fight, but at last it looked like I was going to win after all, if it came to a full-blown court case:
It's important to step back, and think about what this whole situation is about.

It's about simply getting a Passport, something that by the Australian Passport Act, every Australian has a right to. I'm no Criminal, nor someone with dodgy citizenship, nor a Passport Trafficker or Terrorist. I already had a UK passport with the same correct details in. I needed to go overseas for surgery, there was a growing risk of cancer. I have a congenital medical problem, nothing particularly unusual, and that's all.

At a time when I was under great stress, when I was most vulnerable, I was treated
worse than a Murderer - they can get passports. I was ordered to Divorce before a
passport would be granted, something that was a gross abuse of power, and blatantly
discriminatory. Had I not recorded it on my blog, as it happened, it would seem
inconceivable that anyone could be treated this way.

For many months I faced the possibility that I would not be allowed back in the country to see my little son. The sleepless nights, the vast amounts of time spent writing letters, or waiting (sometimes for hours) at the Passport Office, all that was totally un-necessary. Pain and Suffering is an exact description of what was inflicted on me. I think many in a similar situation would not have coped. I came very close to losing it, as was reflected in my writings.

Now that there may be some light at the end of the tunnel, I can let my outrage at
being treated like dirt show. I'm crying now, trying to get rid of the pain, the
anguish, the frustration at the unreasonable and unconscionable conduct of some of
those who had me at their mercy. HOW DARE THEY DO THIS TO ME? I'm Human.

I'm Human. I'm human. No human being should be treated like that.

I intend to make sure they don't ever do it again. That they never order anyone to
Divorce. Victimised, I refuse to be a Victim. They don't have my permission to
de-humanise me. Revenge is not in order, but Recompense, and Retribution, is. If I
can swing it.

A good Barrister has been recommended. Hopefully it won't come to Court. I have no
wish to see people suffer, but I do wish to give such aversion therapy that they
never, ever, do anything like this again.
Steph's fight was over a different issue - things got worse before they got better, and her treatment appears to be in direct retaliation for us not lying down and surrendering. But yes, those who persecuted us are no longer in a position to do so, and DFAT has had a cultural change, even if it took years of legal "aversion therapy". They've genuinely reformed.