Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Free Online Education at Lifehacker U

Your education doesn’t have to stop once you leave school. We’ve put together a curriculum of some of the best free online classes available on the web this fall for the latest term of Lifehacker U, our regularly-updating guide to improving your life with free, online college-level classes. Let’s get started.

Orientation: What Is Lifehacker U?

Whether you’re headed to college for the first time or you’re back in classes after a relaxing summer vacation, or long out of school and interested in learning something new, now’s the time to turn it on and amp up your skills with some interesting and informative classes and seminars. Anyone with a little time and a passion for self-growth can audit, read, and “enroll” in these courses for their own personal benefit. Schools like Yale University, MIT, Stanford, the University of California at Berkeley, and many more are all offering free online classes that you can audit and participate in from the comfort of your office chair, couch, or computing chair-of-choice.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Library of Congress

The library of Congress is the largest library in the world and much of it's collection is available on the internet. More is being added continually.

Visit the Library of Congress and experience the world’s largest collection of culture and creativity like never before.  The Thomas Jefferson Building features exhibitions and installations that bring the Library’s unparalleled collections to life.  Whether you are in Washington, D.C., or at home, let the Library of Congress take you on a unique and personal journey through history and culture.


President Obama addresses the UN, September 20, 2016

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Myth of Male Privilege, Dr Marcie Bowers

There are aspects of being a woman that are really lousy: I brought my son’s Mazda in recently for service. I stepped delicately out of my car in skirt and heels. A gentleman held the door for me as I walked up. This visit was routine, just an oil change, filter—or so I thought. The service was to have been short so I waited for the work to be completed. I thought I’d be then on my way. After an hour or so, the service manager, Ahmed, called me to the desk and explained that there was an additional problem that had been discovered.

They recommended replacement of several of the hoses and belts. My simple oil change had suddenly leapt from $64 to nearly $900. He tapped a pencil while speaking with me. When I asked for an explanation and consequences if I chose to wait on replacement, the tapping frequency increased, oddly enough, as though this additional explanation would add appreciably to the cost of the repair. Although I am a medical school graduate, I received no education at any level that prepared me for the challenges of dealing with an auto mechanic as a woman. If I pressed further, I understood that eventually the explanation would degenerate into some sort of technical words that, when translated, meant I would never understand. I recalled my prior visit to a more elite dealership whose service manager had insisted that my complaint about a malfunctioning door latch was best resolved if I would purchase a very expensive, new, German battery. His explanation made about as much sense as treating a gangrenous toe with cholecystectomy. But at least I would never get gallstones, I thought.

If they only knew…
During my later professional life, which has now narrowed to reconstructing genitalia, my experiences (both in medicine and at the service department) are shaped by my prior history as having lived as a male for 36 years (with overlap as an obstetrician/gynecologist). I don’t talk about my past—because in public I really do not need to do so—I live as woman. I see my self that way—as does most of the world. Amazing. But like any good Boston accent, you take a part of your past with you. It is an aspect of who you are and, if I could have, would not have avoided many of my masculine experiences. Despite the adolescent bullying, despite the longing and sadness, my struggle makes me who I am. I liked learning to throw a baseball as much as I enjoyed being casually ushered into Nordstrom’s lingerie department fitting room for the first time. And I am a very strong—yet feminine– woman as a result. Transgender, though not for the faint of heart, is a fascinating journey.

The Caliph: Mid-East history & current affairs context

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Detransition, Desistance, and Disinformation: A Guide for Understanding Transgender Children Debates

  Go to the profile of Julia Serano
Julia Serano

Saturday, July 23, 2016

on societal resistance to change

I think people are beginning to understand and societal attitudes are changing. Some parts of the country lead while some have a history of oppressing minorities. Perhaps we are seeing the last gasp of those groups that feel they are loosing their grip on others as we move toward equality for all. 

White males did dominate society: politics, factories, church leadership and so on. In WW-II women joined the factory floor replacing men who went off to war. The problem is that they decided they liked their new roles and didn't want to go back to just cleaning and cooking. 

Blacks joined the military and in time gained equality, but equality is still a work-in-progress. Now we have  President Obama and that is a huge shock to KKK, White Power and related groups. 

Now we have Hillary running for President---OMG, a woman. Although better prepared than anyone in recent memory except perhaps, Lyndon Johnson. This White Male cohort is in shock as they lose their dominant position. Further we have many of Hispanic decent who want nothing more than their place at the table starting as all immigrant groups do, as skilled craftsmen and laborers. 

White males see and fear competition and additionally we have greater international competition to produce the world's goods and services. The pace of change is intense and some are not equipped by a meager education to cope as effectively with competition who are eager to work hard. 

SOooo we see the republican party led by Fox and hate radio coming to the defense of White Males damning their competition.

We see LGBT peoples emerging and causing change of long held customs. Although other older societies have been accommodating, ours is struggling with change although I am amazed at the acceptance given me. Change is always met with resistance and often a last struggle of resistance, I believe we will soon see the end of that and we will adjust our customs and laws. 

Stay resolute and work for inclusion and understanding. I am confident that we will see continuing movement toward equality for all..

"All Americans deserve to be treated equally before the law and in the eyes of our society--no matter who they are," President Obama

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Reflections on Transgender Progress

About two years ago I wrote President Obama about being a transperson and how my 55+ community "transitioned" to acceptance of me. There were questions, but in retrospect it was easy compared with what some experience particularly in the Old South.
I feel honored that my message was selected among the ten he reads daily. He responded with the letter to the left on my Facebook page. It is framed in archival paper above my desk where it inspires me daily.
As I reflect on the recent decision to join 18 other nations in accepting transpeople to serve in our military the importance of the intent reflected in this letter is more real to me. It signaled things to come and I have been on the cusp of this rapid change in our legal and social acceptance.
In June 2010, the State Department under Secy Clinton announced a new policy to issue passports that reflect a person’s current gender. In January 2011, the State Department made further improvements to its new policy. Our various states have followed suit allowing gender change.
We are experiencing rapid change in acceptance of minority people in this country. However, It is not uncommon for reactionary forces to express themselves when they notice they are loosing. In this case demographics continue favor us.
As our friends in the Canadian Parliament chanted, "Four more years".
I hope it is eight more with dominance in the House and Senate.

Letter from President Obama

Saturday, July 2, 2016

This trans woman found her safe haven at El Pollo Loco

Landing a steady job in today’s economy isn’t easy. But if you’re transgender, it’s nearly impossible.  
Just look at the numbers: More than 44% of transgender people are unemployed. And those lucky enough to have a job are four times more likely than the rest of the population to earn less than $10,000 a year, according to a 2013 report co-authored by the Movement Advancement Project.
For Mary Angel Hernandez, a 25-year old trans woman, this is reality. In 2012, her Catholic parents kicked her out of their home, a not-so-uncommon experience for queer youth. Of the millions of homeless youth in the U.S., about 20% identify as LGBT. Losing her home was especially heartbreaking for Hernandez, given everything she’d been through to get there.
At 15-years-old, Hernandez had packed a small backpack and made her way from her home country of Honduras—the most dangerous country on the planet—to Mexico by jumping trains and taking buses, all while knowing that at any moment she could be caught by the government and deported or even worse, extorted and killed by gangs.
“You know that if something happens to you in the street no one will stand for you because they think you deserve it,” Hernandez said. “I thought, ‘Should I die under the hands of people who are just going to view me as something less than human or die trying to move forward to a better future?’ So I decided to come here as any other immigrant and cross the border.”
Somehow, eventually, after trains, buses and a strenuous three-day trek in the desert, she reunited with her parents who were living in Houston, Texas, and life perked up a little bit. She excelled in school, becoming the first transgender college-elected school president at Houston Community College and the second in the state of Texas, and graduating on the dean’s list with an associate’s degree. School was a breeze, but because she was poor and later homeless, she always needed to work.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Boy Or Girl? What’s The Science Behind Transgender?

Please be advised that the following article is about a controversial subject and goes into detail about sexual identity and references sexual organs.
Outspoken second-wave feminist Germaine Greer recently caused controversy by claiming that transgender women “can’t be women” and “just because you lop off your penis…it doesn’t make you a woman”.
Of course in a sense she is absolutely right. Genitals alone do not define your gender. Cancer or severe injury can result in the necessary removal of testes or penises for example. Yet the men that undergo these procedures are no less men afterwards. Medical vaginectomies, or the removal of part or all of the vagina, does not mean that a woman stops being a woman. Obviously surgery alone does not define your sex. But that’s not what Greer meant.
So what does define your gender? The simplest and most common sense answer is the genitals that we are born with. Boys have penises, girls have vaginas. Nature determines your sex.
Except when it doesn’t.

The Problem With Genitals

You may have heard recently about something unusual that happens in a small village in the Dominican Republic. One in 90 children there that are born girls are not destined to stay girls.  Once these children start puberty, they grow penises and testicles. They are known locally asguevedoces, literally “penises at age twelve”. Scientists call them pseudohermaphrodites and Dr. Julianne Imperato, one of the first to study the guevedoces, discovered that the startling transformation was due to an enzyme deficiency.
We all start out as female in the womb. At the risk of over-simplifying, boys then get a shot of testosterone that changes the clitoris into a penis and changes the vagina into testicles. Guevedoces don’t have as much of an enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase. It’s this enzyme that converts the testosterone into the male genital building hormone dihydro-testosterone. At puberty, the “girls” undergo another surge of testosterone that belatedly causes the outward change into boys and ultimately men. The phenomenon is not confined to the Dominican Republic and further cases have been reported in Papua New Guinea.
The condition that results in the guevedoces’ late transformation is one of a variety of conditions that come under the umbrella term Intersex. Simply put, an Intersex condition occurs where a person’s sexual anatomy doesn’t fit the typical definition of male or female. It can mean that a person’s genitals look different to the norm for their sex, or that the genitals look like the norm on the outside but the internal anatomy may more closely resemble the opposite gender.
So children are not necessarily defined by the genitals they are born with. Can we find a better definition for gender?


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

What it means to be transgender: Answers to 5 key questions

Is being transgender a choice?

“Research continues to show that it’s not as simple as ‘I’m a female, I’m a male,’ ” said J. Wesley Thompson, a physician assistant, medical director of Ballantyne Family Medicine and member of the Charlotte Transgender Healthcare Group.
“It’s far more complicated than ‘This is a choice.’ That might be true for a very small minority, but for the vast majority, no one would put themselves through this kind of pain by choice,” Thompson said. “Studies have shown that a transitioning patient loses 90 percent of their family and friends’ support network. That’s one of the reasons that substance abuse and depression and suicide attempts are so high.”
 Is being transgender a mental illness?

No. In 2013, the term “gender identity disorder” was eliminated from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.” The term was replaced by “gender dysphoria,” which focuses attention on those who feel distressed by their gender identity.
The American Psychiatric Association, which publishes the DSM, stated that “gender nonconformity is not in itself a mental disorder. The critical element of gender dysphoria is the presence of clinically significant distress associated with the condition.” Experts say much of the distress is associated with societal attitudes rather than gender identity.

Are people female or male at birth?

Not always. Duke’s Adkins is one of 20 pediatric endocrinologists who wrote a letter to McCrory objecting to HB2, in part, because “there are babies born in whom chromosomes suggesting one sex do not match the appearance of the genitalia.”
The letter said: “This can be due to multiple biological causes such as chromosome abnormalities, abnormalities in anatomic development, environmental exposures during pregnancy, genetic mutations in the synthesis and actions of adrenal and gonadal hormones, and tumors that make sex hormones. For these children, gender assignment at birth is challenging and takes substantial time, sometimes requiring re-evaluation over months to years.”

How does gender develop?

“All human embryos are equipped with the starter kits for both male and female sexual anatomy,” according to a BloombergView article by Faye Flam. “Every part on the male body has an analogous part on the female body.”
Typically, females have two X chromosomes, and males have one X and one Y. “But these are just the starting switches for a complicated process in which genes on various chromosomes become activated and trigger precisely timed releases of hormones,” Flam wrote.
Depending on which switches are flipped and when, there are lots of possible outcomes. “Not everyone comes into the world with a clear-cut sex,” Flam wrote.
Read more here:

What does research show?

Male and female brains are slightly different in structure. In 2013, Spanish researchers examined MRI scans of the brains of 42 transgender men and women. Even before treatment with hormones, the scans showed that specific structures in their brains were more similar to those in the gender they identified with than of those in the gender they were born with.
Also, researchers in Amsterdam examined adolescent boys and girls with gender dysphoria and how they responded to a pheromone-like substance that is known to cause different responses in the brains of men and women. The study, published in 2014, found that boys with gender dysphoria responded like typical females, and girls responded like typical boys.
“The interesting thing about that study,” said Thompson, of the Charlotte Transgender Healthcare Group, “is that (responses to pheromones) cannot be influenced by training or environment. The response to odors is from our primal brain.…Research continues to show that there is a discernible difference genetically and on an anatomical basis for the transgender identity.”
Author Nutt, who summarized the research in her book, noted that female and male brains are not that different overall.
Read more here:

Monday, May 9, 2016

DOJ Sues To Block North Carolina's Anti-LGBT Bill

The complaint coincides with the deadline the Department of Justice had given North Carolina to confirm "that the State will not comply with or implement HB2," as the agency said it violates various federal statutes. Not only did Gov. Pat McCrory (R) signal he would not be backing down from enforcing the law, he fired an opening shot Monday morning by filing a legal complaint of his own against the federal government, accusing the Obama administration of a "radical reinterpretation" of civil rights laws.

In Monday's press conference, Lynch called the legislation "state-sponsored discrimination against transgender individuals, who simply seek to engage in the most private of functions in a place of safety and security – a right taken for granted by most of us."
Lynch, who is from North Carolina, also compared it to discrimination faced by African Americans.

"It was not so very long ago that states including North Carolina had other signs above restrooms, water fountains and on public accommodations keeping people out based on a distinction without a difference," she said.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Just Call Me Kade, transgender boy

Kade Farlow Collins is a sixteen year old FTM (female to male transgendered person) residing in Tucson, Arizona. Kade's parents maintain a supportive and nurturing relationship to Kade regarding the many challenges facing their teenage child. However, it hasn't always been easy.

As Kade's body began to transform during puberty, Kade became nearly suicidal. Realizing that the issue was more complex than Kade being a tomboy or a lesbian, the family searched for information. Through a local support group and the internet, Kade's mother found books and other resources pertaining to transgenderism. Kade and his family agreed to have their lives documented in order to bring awareness to the subject.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Christine Jorgensen Story Full Movie

The true story of Christine Jorgensen, one of the first people to undergo a sex change, based on her autobiography. Directed by veteran director Irving Rapper.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

A Transgender HBO Biography Special Middle Sexes

The entire HBO special of an international exploration of blurring gender roles in a documentary that seeks to open a constructive dialogue regarding the social.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Mental Health of Transgender Children Who Are Supported in Their Identities


OBJECTIVE: Transgender children who have socially transitioned, that is, who identify as the gender “opposite” their natal sex and are supported to live openly as that gender, are increasingly visible in society, yet we know nothing about their mental health. Previous work with children with gender identity disorder (GID; now termed gender dysphoria) has found remarkably high rates of anxiety and depression in these children. Here we examine, for the first time, mental health in a sample of socially transitioned transgender children.
METHODS: A community-based national sample of transgender, prepubescent children (n = 73, aged 3–12 years), along with control groups of nontransgender children in the same age range (n = 73 age- and gender-matched community controls; n = 49 sibling of transgender participants), were recruited as part of the TransYouth Project. Parents completed anxiety and depression measures.
RESULTS: Transgender children showed no elevations in depression and slightly elevated anxiety relative to population averages. They did not differ from the control groups on depression symptoms and had only marginally higher anxiety symptoms.
CONCLUSIONS: Socially transitioned transgender children who are supported in their gender identity have developmentally normative levels of depression and only minimal elevations in anxiety, suggesting that psychopathology is not inevitable within this group. Especially striking is the comparison with reports of children with GID; socially transitioned transgender children have notably lower rates of internalizing psychopathology than previously reported among children with GID living as their natal sex.

  • GD — 
    gender dysphoria
    GID — 
    gender identity disorder
  • What’s Known on This Subject:

    Transgender individuals have been found to have highly elevated rates of anxiety and depression, but little is known about the mental health of transgender children whose identities are affirmed and supported by their families.

    What This Study Adds:

    More families are allowing their transgender children to live and present to others as their gender identity. This is the first study to examine mental health in these children, finding that they have low levels of anxiety and depression.
    National media are increasingly presenting stories of a subset of prepubescent transgender children (those who persistently, insistently, and consistently identify as the gender identity that is the “opposite” of their natal sex). More striking to many, a large number of these children have “socially transitioned”: they are being raised and are presenting to others as their gender identity rather than their natal sex,14 a reversible nonmedical intervention that involves changing the pronouns used to describe a child, as well as his or her name and (typically) hair length and clothing. These stories have sparked an international debate about whether parents of young transgender children should support their children’s desire to live presenting as their gender identity.59 Despite considerable and heated discussion on the topic, and despite these children’s increasing appearance at gender clinics,6 there have been no reports to date on the mental health of transgender children who have socially transitioned, forcing clinicians to make recommendations to parents without any systematic, empirical investigations of mental health among socially transitioned children.
    Most studies of mental health among transgender people have examined adolescents and adults. These studies consistently report dramatically elevated rates of anxiety, depression, and suicidality among transgender people.1016 These elevated rates of psychopathology are likely the result of years of prejudice, discrimination, and stigma11,17; conflict between one’s appearance and stated identity18; and general rejection by people in their social environments, including their families.19,20 There is now growing evidence that social support is linked to better mental health outcomes among transgender adolescents and adults.2126These findings suggest the possibility that social transitions in children, a form of affirmation and support by a prepubescent child’s parents, could be associated with good mental health outcomes in transgender children.

    Friday, March 18, 2016

    12 Dozen Places To Educate Yourself Online For Free

    12 Dozen Places To Educate Yourself Online For Free

    se1All education is self-education. Period. It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting in a college classroom or a coffee shop. We don’t learn anything we don’t want to learn.
    Those people who take the time and initiative to pursue knowledge on their own are the only ones who earn a real education in this world. Take a look at any widely acclaimed scholar, entrepreneur or historical figure you can think of. Formal education or not, you’ll find that he or she is a product of continuous self-education.
    If you’re interested in learning something new, this article is for you. Broken down by subject and/or category, here are several top-notch self-education resources I have bookmarked online over the past few years.
    Note that some of the sources overlap between various subjects of education. Therefore, each has been placed under a specific subject based on the majority focus of the source’s content.