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Get you’re shirt on, fckh8.com.

I may not believe in the institution of marriage, but I do believe in fair is fair, everyone deserves the same legal rights. I’m sick of the church and state getting together and saying we can’t be married. I thought they were separate. I am also sick of adulterers saying I am attacking the institution of marriage.

Fuck that.

-Cara

This is a re-print of an article, “What it Says About Us When a 17-Month-Old Boy Is Beaten to Death for “Acting Like a Girl” , by Michael Rowe of The Huffington Post. I want to have this article reach as many people as possible, so pass it on. It gave me chills.  I was so sure a woman wrote it before I looked. I think because of his depth of understanding and the connection he sees and acknowledges between society and what this man did to this child…or maybe just the sensitivity and sincere beauty of  how he wrote such a sad piece. Saying this I acknowledge makes me a sexist. I also need to be aware of the affects of American socialization on me. I appreciate when people push themselves to see what not one of us wants to. The inconvenient truths of the society we live in.

Please read the whole article.

-Cara

At approximately 8:25 p.m. last Sunday night, the New York State Police on Long Island logged a 911 call about a toddler in cardiac arrest. The boy, 17-month-old Roy Jones, was rushed from the Shinnecock Indian Reservation in Southampton, N.Y. to Southampton Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 9:11 p.m.

According to authorities, the toddler had endured a savage beating. His tiny body had been repeatedly punched with closed fists and grabbed by the neck. By the time 911 had been called at dusk, he was already in cardiac arrest from the sheer brutality of the assault and it was too late to save his life.

Charged with manslaughter in the first degree and held without bail is the toddler’s mother’s live-in boyfriend, 20-year-old Pedro Jones, who was babysitting. The pair lived together on Shinnecock Nation tribal land, though Jones himself was not a member of the tribe. They were reportedly to marry, and Jones called the toddler “my baby,” though Roy was not, in fact his baby.

“I was trying to make him act like a boy instead of a little girl,” Jones explained. “I never struck that kid that hard before. A one-time mistake, and I am going to do 20 years.”

He told troopers that the little boy had been too feminine and that he’d been trying to toughen Roy up by literally beating the life out of him.

“I’m sorry,” he said “That’s my baby. I loved him to death.”

A nominally civilized society such as ours can only recoil in horror at any news of a child’s death at the abusive hands of an adult. Infanticide is the ultimate forfeiture of our humanity, rightly seen as a perversion of the very essence of the natural order and the circle of life. The act is a declaration of such abject monstrosity that is very nearly beyond forgiveness. But it happens every day, and we guiltily avert our eyes to these stories when we read them because, on some level, we realize that the children could easily be our own and the pain is too much to bear. In 2008, in the U.S. alone, the Department of Health and Human Services reported 772,000 cases of child abuse, resulting 1,740 fatalities–a sharp rise from 1,330 in 2000.

But there is an added and significant dimension to the tragedy. The reason given for the beating is that, even at 17 months, the toddler was perceived by his killer to be effeminate. Madhouse logic indeed, but to Pedro Jones there was a way that little boys should act and a way little girls should act.

While Jones is a tragic example of the paradigm taken to deadly lengths, society’s discomfort with gender variance permeates nearly every part of the national dialogue and runs through every part of the culture.

It’s present in the heightened male objectification of women inherent in certain types of music videos that present them as “bitches” and “hoes” who crave an answering violent thuggishness from their men. It’s present in advertising that teaches young women that they’re essentially a life support system for their physical assets, that the ideal woman is a weak-willed, mindless consumer of frivolity, whereas a “real man”–stronger, but stupider–is waiting for nothing more than the arrival of the Swedish Women’s Nude Basketball Team with cold beer.

There are coded echoes of it in the leading and prejudicial questionnaire put to servicemen and women this spring by the Pentagon regarding the viability of openly gay soldiers serving side-by-side with heterosexual ones. The document is mined with phrases that seem crafted with unease on the part of straight male soldiers as a goal, fears that their gay counterparts might not be “real” men but something inferior, less masculine, less reliable in a firefight.

It was there in June of this year when the Family Research Council hailed Republican Governor of Rhode Island Don Carcieri for vetoing hate crimes legislation that would have included transgender-identified persons as a protected class. Gloated Tony Perkins, the president of the organization, “[Governor Carcieri] deserves praise for his strong stance for the Families of Rhode Island, and other Governors can learn from his example.” Perkins neglected to explain how excluding transgender people from hate crime legislation had anything to do with protecting families.

It was there in the Hieronymus Bosch-level grotesquery of the lies, distortions, and misrepresentations of the lives of gay and lesbian couples used by the Proposition 8 supporters in their now-failed battle to make their horror of sexual and gender variance the law of the land in California by codifying their bigotry at the ballot box and in the courts.

It’s endemic in fundamentalist Christianity, which claims Biblical authority for rigid gender roles and, more importantly, the appearance of rigid gender roles. Psychologist and Southern Baptist minister George Alan Rekers, co-founder of the Family Research Council and formerly of the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) who, until he was caught this year flying a gay rent-boy to Europe to “lift his luggage” and give him nude sexual massages, was best known for sharing his wisdom on how to “cure” homosexuality.

A May 2010 article in the Miami News by Penn Bullock and Brandon K. Thorp reported on Rekers’ 1974 “Feminine Boy Project” at UCLA. The article highlighted the story of a 4-year-old-year old “effeminate boy” named Kraig was subjected by his parents to Rekers’ aversion therapy.

Part of the therapy involved putting Kraig in “play-observation room” with his mother, who had instructions to avert her eyes from her child when he played with “girly” toys. An essay by Stephanie Wilkinson published in Brain, Child magazine in 2001 recounts that, during one of the sessions, Kraig became so distraught and hysterical at what must have seemed to the 4-year-old like the withdrawal of his mother’s love, that he had to be carried out of the room by the staff. At home, the “treatment” continued, with Kraig being rewarded for “masculine” behavior and spanked by his father for “feminine” behavior.

After two years of treatment, apparently “cured” of his effeminacy, Kraig was held up by the psychologist as proof that his treatment worked until, at 18, shamed and scarred by his diagnosis and treatment, Kraig attempted suicide.

Last summer, Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover who committed suicide in his mother’s house after months of taunts about how he acted “like a girl” and therefore had to be gay. His mother had to cut down his dead body from the support beam from which he hung himself. The previous year, a 14-year-old classmate killed 15-year-old old Lawrence King, of Oxnard, CA because King came to school in lipstick and nail polish.

As a society, we equate masculinity with force, with violence, with aggression, with being “tough” and invulnerable. We celebrate it those things as virtues. To a widely-varying degree, we look with disdain, or pity, or condescension, or amusement at too much deviation from the prescribed norm. And we occasionally exact a terrible penalty for stepping outside those rigid parameters.

The beating death of 17-month-old Roy Jones was no less a hate crime because the victim was a baby. Whether would have grown up to be gay, or transgender, or just a gentle, sweet-natured straight boy, was still many years away. More, it was irrelevant.

The attack, and the apparent impulse behind it–that a violent man was made uncomfortable by a even a perceived variation on gender-normative behavior–is exactly what makes transgender and gender-variant Americans among the most vulnerable segment of the population, and children who even appear gender-variant are the most vulnerable of all.

It’s still early in the investigation and there are naturally more questions than answers at this point. Doubtless, facts and details will emerge about Pedro Jones along with the very real possibility that he endured horrors of his own that helped craft what he later became. It’s too early to paint him as a monster, or at least as a one-dimensional monster. With few exceptions, monsters are made, not born. They are still monsters, but they are carved with the hurtful blows of many sharp chisels, over many years.

At the very least, his own violent psychopathology notwithstanding, someone, somewhere, taught Pedro Jones that the worst thing a little boy can do is act like a girl. In the end, it matters precious little when or where he learned it, because a 17-month-old toddler ultimately paid a terrible price for that lesson.

On Sunday night, his little body wracked by agony, blackened with bruises, beaten within an inch of his life, gasping for breath in a world suddenly full of more pain than he could bear, his little light flickered and vanished into the darkness.

Maybe this time, when we read about the death of Roy Jones, before we look away and try not to think of our own children and how truly defenseless they are, not only against violence, but against an adult’s determinant view of who and what they might be, we might examine the way in which we see our society and the complex mosaic that makes up our fellow citizens.

We might say a prayer of comfort for his family, then ask ourselves what his death might say about us. We might ask what our role should be in shaping that world and, by definition, in shaping how our children will come to see themselves as citizens of it.

New York Governor David Paterson—the sponsor of the marriage bill currently before the legislature—delivered poignant remarks to the thousands recently assembled in midtown Manhattan. I like this guy.

patterson-video

The New York State Assembly recently passed the marriage equality bill which now heads to the state senate. I think it’s time for marriage equality to come to New York, so I sent my state senator an e-mail through the Human Rights Campaign.

They’ve made it super simple to send a personal message to legislators. With the scare tactics being used by our opponents, we need senators to hear from as many supporters of equality as possible.

This issue is very important to me, and taking action will only take a millisecond. Please join me in writing to your senator today.

Click here:

http://www.hrcactioncenter.org/campaign/nysenatemarriage/step1

Fair is fair.

-Cara

For no particular reason, I always liked the actress/comedian Janeane Garofalo. There is just something about her that interests me, maybe it’s her anger, or her glasses, or her general dislike of idiots and the fact she is not quiet about it. Anyway, it was no big deal, just a general liking that if asked, “Hey, do you like that actress Janeane Garofalo?”, I’d say, “Yeah, she is great in Wet Hot American Summer. I love that flick.”

Then the other day I watched this documentary narrated by Janeane Garofalo entitled, “Dangerous Living: Coming Out In The Developing World“. It is about the lives of gays, lesbians and transgender people living in the Global South in the present time and the homophobia and injustice they face. I found it interesting that a heterosexual comedian/actress was narrating this indie documentary about homosexuals. I remembered someone telling me awhile back that she was a part of this liberal internet radio station Air America and was crazy political, so it made some sense I guess. I was interested and decided to do some Garofalo investigating. What I found out is she is no longer with the station and is acting on some TV shows [not sure which and it doesn’t matter as I don’t have a television]. The station itself was sold to some corporation that recently suspended this host Randi Rhodes for calling Hillary Clinton, a whore over and over again at some Air America, San Francisco event she was doing some shtick at. Here is my opinion on this; I feel whore is a negative term created by men to degrade women. I personally am not into women degrading women in an unproductive way, but I am into people having the right to say whatever they want, I just prefer it to be intelligent. Anyway, after the station suspended her, she resigned. I would have staid and fought, but not knowing the whole story I shouldn’t really say that…but I will anyway!

OK, sorry back to Janeane. During my Garofalo investigating/stalking I found this video on YouTube of Janeane in an interview on Fox News with Brian Kilmeade and two other reporters I don’t care enough to find out the names of, from February 2003.

This is why she is today’s heroine, not only is she well read and intelligent, she did not jump up and sucker punch Brian Kilmeade, who was trying desperately to silence her voice and make her out to be an anti-American, Saddam supporter. Fox news is disgusting. The reason they were number one at the time is they are an entertainment, fluff network. Their news is a joke, and yes all network news is a joke, but Fox News is the champion of crap.

Do not support America’s televised news! It only exists to sell you crap and distract you from the truth.

-Cara

Reason 88 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:

Just as smokestack emissions result in acid rain, toxic fumes from decomposing livestock waste in open-air lagoons on factory farms become poisonous to fish when returned to waterways via rainfall. The errant ammonia also ravages terrestrial ecosystems. Since Earth’s plant species evolved to efficiently use scarce amounts of nutrients, today’s gluts will generally kill them. Fallout can degrade environments as far away as 300 miles.

No, this is not becoming an arts and entertainment blog, but I watched a documentary tonight called, Dangerous Living: Coming Out In The Developing World, and now I feel like talking about it.

It is a crazy world we live in where people feel like it is OK to torture, rape, belittle, and murder each other in the name of God, Country and what is “morally” right. Dangerous Living: Coming Out In The Developing World follows the lives of gays, lesbians and transgender people living in the Global South, during this time. The film centers around the 52 men in Cairo who were arrested, tortured and imprisoned for gathering at a discothèque on the river Nile on May 11th, 2001. There is no law against homosexuality in Egypt so the Egyptian Government officially accused the men of committing crimes of debauchery. The 52 were later tried, convicted, and sentenced to 3 years in prison. Sentenced to three years in prison for being on a boat dancing with other men, can you imagine…Chelsea would be empty! No, but seriously…what? This is absurd. I am glad I found this flick, because it reminds me of all the work we still must do to undo all the ignorance that is alive and well all over the world and not just in my beautiful America. This film is not only about the 52 men in Egypt, but about homosexuals in Honduras, the Philippines, Kenya, Uganda, Brazil, Pakistan, Vietnam, Namibia, India, Fiji Islands, Iran, El Salvador, China, Malaysia, and Jamaica to name a few, that are being treated inhumanely by their fellow countrymen and being encourage to do so by their own government.

We as people need to stop hurting each other, because of our ignorance and insecurities. We need to open are eyes and hearts and then minds to create a better place to exist. It is important not only for others, but are own wellbeing. First step, watch the movie. I got it from Netflix today and will return it tomorrow so you can watch it. ;) Second, visit The the International Lesbian and Gay Association, they are a world-wide network of national and local groups dedicated to achieving equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people everywhere and do something!!!

Take back the night!

-Cara

p.s.- I almost forgot in all my outrage that another reason to watch it is Janeane Garofalo is the narrator of the film! That’s a sweet deal.


—————————————————

Reason 61 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:
From the animal-feed breadbasket and feedlots of the nation’s Midwest, massive amounts of fertilizer, pesticides, and manure-runoff travel down the Mississippi River. This high-nutrient mix causes an eco-chain reaction that ends with microscopic organisms robbing oxygen from the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Marine life must relocate or suffocate. The phenomenon is known as hypoxia. Scientists have dubbed affected areas “dead zones.” Each summer the Gulf’s dead zone grows to an area the size of New Jersey. A recent U.N. report showed a 34 percent jump over 2 years in the number of dead zones–now 200 worldwide. Today, red tides (harmful algae blooms) line some coastlines of entire nations nearly without break. Soon, the hot real-estate properties around the world will be away from the waterfronts.

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