JK Rowling's retroactive Harry Potter continuity additions have been a continuous source of pop cultural embarrassment. But her repeated allusions to trans-exclusionary radical feminism has been even worse. After a few gross anti-trans tweets, Rowling decided to double-down on her discriminatory convictions by posting a massive screed on her website attempting to explain why, actually, trans and non-binary people and those who otherwise deal with gender dysphoria are — to hear Rowling tell it — not real human people but also thieves who are trying to steal money from Rowling's charities.
To be clear: this is bullshit, and it causes further unnecessary harm against trans and non-binary people who represent a sliver of the population but have definitely already dealt with enough bullshit in their lives simply because of antiquated social impositions on them.
The thrust of Rowling's shameful argument is that the 0.3-0.6 percent of people who are trans are selfishly robbing resources from causes that Rowling supports, like domestic violence shelters for women who have suffered from abuse. On the surface, this is an utterly fucking absurd assertion. Rhetorically, Rowling cleverly avoids citing any sources or data in support of any of her arguments — arguments which she, of course, insists are based on (un-linked) facts and not feelings. This fact alone should be enough to dismiss the absurdity of her claims.
But in case you need something more, TCGPlayer writer Cassie LaBelle has annotated Rowling's entire ridiculous blog post. All 13 pages of it. And she succinctly vivisects every stupid argument contained within. Read the rest
South Carolina's system of appointed magistrates allows the state senate to appoint "judges" with no legal training, some of whom cannot pass a basic competency test on the first try, to hear over 800,000 cases a year; the magistrates are appointed and re-appointed without a background check (there's also a loophole that let some judges escape even that reappointment hearing, serving for 20 years without undergoing the process), allowing them to serve even after grave judicial misconduct.
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Number of days since the Trump administration has done something performatively homophobic or transphobic? Zero. Read the rest
Ex-Secret Service officer Liam Booth was the head of security for Mark Zuckerberg's "family office" and charitable foundation; two former employees accused Booth of homophobia, transphobia, "pervasive discriminatory conduct," and "horrific levels of sexual harassment and battery," saying that he had made racist remarks about Zuckerberg's wife, Priscilla Chan; that he had told a staffer that he "didn't trust Black people" and that he believed that "white lives matter more than Black lives" and had personally sabotaged Chan's attempt to hire more diverse staff; that he'd complained about the number of Black people working for the family charity; and that he'd "angrily advocat[ed] against diversity in the workplace and the movement Black Lives Matters, which he called 'reverse racism.'"
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This week, thousands of googlers and many others (including me) signed an open letter objecting to the inclusion of Heritage Foundation president Kay Coles James on the company's Advanced Technology External Advisory Council (ATEAC), on the the grounds that James had frequently evinced viciously transphobic, racist, anti-immigrant sentiments.
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The googler uprising continues: after forcing the company to kill its plans to launch a censored Chinese search-engine and its plan to sell AI technology to US drone systems, and forcing out execs who led these projects, and getting the right to sue the company over sexual harassment, more than 170 googlers have signed an open letter demanding that the company reverse its decision to add Heritage Foundation president Kay Coles James to its Advanced Technology External Advisory Council (ATEAC), an advisory body that provides moral guidance on AI and other technologies.
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Riley's Farm is a staple of Los Angeles overnight school trips (my daughter visited last year with her elementary school); it's an apple farm with a pick-your-own apples sideline that branched out into civil war re-enactments, with some students staying overnight in tents.
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In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court today allowed the enforcement of President Trump's ban on transgender people from the military. The Trump administration was earlier blocked from implementing the policy by lower courts; today's ruling lifts those injunctions while the legal battle continues.
The split was partisan: John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh pemitted the restrictions to go into effect, with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan in the minority.
Under the ban, transgender people are permitted to serve only if they do not seek to transition and do not suffer from gender dysphoria. Some post-transition trans people may continue to serve, a distinction that the conservative justices highlighted in asserting the prohibition was not a "blanket ban." Read the rest
The Church of Latter Day Saints insists that its decision to end over a century of close association with the Boy Scouts has nothing to do with the organization's decision to admit girls, gay kids and trans kids -- the Mormon leaders say that its launching of a competing scouting organization based on the "spiritual, social, physical and intellectual goals outlined by the church" is merely a coincidence.
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Fifty-six retired U.S. generals, admirals and other senior officers today voiced opposition to President Donald Trump's proposed ban on transgender military service. Trump attempted to justify his bigotry on the bogus grounds it would be disruptive and harm readiness. Read the rest
A group of protesters followed Pat McCrory (the former Republican governor of North Carolina who signed a transphobic bathroom bill in March) and loudly shamed him as he was walking into a building in Washington DC. McCrory ignored the shaming, but now North Carolina state Sen. Dan Bishop wants to pass a law making it illegal to “threaten, intimidate, or retaliate against a present or former North Carolina official in the course of, or on account of, the performance of his or her duties.”
From Washington Post:
In a post on his website, Bishop said the video showed “rioters” chasing McCrory down a blind alley and threatening his safety.
“Lines are being crossed,” Bishop wrote. “Other governors never faced riotous mobs in their post-service, private lives, without personal security.”
I watched the video (above). It didn't look like a "riot" or a "mob" to me. It looked like some passionate people expressing their non-violent anger at a man who has zero empathy for transgender people, and then left peacefully when the cops shooed them away. Read the rest
Wired's Emma Grey Ellis runs the numbers on HB2, the anti-transgender North Carolina law that requires bearded blokes to use the womens' bathroom because they have an F on their birth certificate. "It’s North Carolinians, most of whom don’t even support the legislation," Emma writes, "who get stuck with the bill. "
Adding all that up, the total cost to North Carolinians so far from HB2 protests is slightly more than $395 million. That’s more than the GDP of Micronesia. And the bulk of it is from sporting organizations, who even five years ago would likely not have waded into political territory like this. But experts aren’t that surprised that the NBA, NCAA, and ACC have taken this step now. “They’re not out on a limb here,” Durso says. “They’re in line with their base.” The near unanimous outcry against HB2 and in support of the NCAA and ACC confirms that. Legislating discrimination has become an expensive bad habit.
The sports-media business often imposes audience consensus upon local authorities. If usually a bad thing--think "taxpayers hooked into building private stadiums"--there are silver linings. Read the rest