A Climate of Hate?

The video (youtube) and text (Paul Krugman) are not associated with one another, but are oh-so-related:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7046bo92a4&feature=player_embedded#![/youtube]

Put me in the latter category. I’ve had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach ever since the final stages of the 2008 campaign. I remembered the upsurge in political hatred after Bill Clinton’s election in 1992 — an upsurge that culminated in the Oklahoma City bombing. And you could see, just by watching the crowds at McCain-Palin rallies, that it was ready to happen again. The Department of Homeland Security reached the same conclusion: in April 2009 an internal report warned that right-wing extremism was on the rise, with a growing potential for violence.

Conservatives denounced that report. But there has, in fact, been a rising tide of threats and vandalism aimed at elected officials, including both Judge John Roll, who was killed Saturday, and Representative Gabrielle Giffords. One of these days, someone was bound to take it to the next level. And now someone has.

It’s true that the shooter in Arizona appears to have been mentally troubled. But that doesn’t mean that his act can or should be treated as an isolated event, having nothing to do with the national climate.

Last spring Politico.com reported on a surge in threats against members of Congress, which were already up by 300 percent. A number of the people making those threats had a history of mental illness — but something about the current state of America has been causing far more disturbed people than before to act out their illness by threatening, or actually engaging in, political violence. (Source)

Concerns For Transgender Travelers

This new TSA nekkid booty-scanner/German pat-down policy may have an impact on the lives of transgender people that a ninja like myself didn’t even anticipate. How would you feel if every secret about your genitalia were suddenly revealed, or worse, if you were outed against your wishes in front of co-workers or friends?

The new policy presents transgender travelers with a difficult choice between invasive touching and a scan that reveals the intimate contours of the body. Unless and until NCTE and our allies can get these unreasonable policies fixed, NCTE encourages transgender travelers to think through the available options and make their own decisions about which procedure feels least uncomfortable and less unsafe. (Source – complete with travel tips)

Unfortunately, someone’s genitalia and/or chest not matching up with their gender presentation and/or marker may be enough to raise an inspector’s suspicions. A trans person is then put in the position of having to explain their situation, which is not something most of us enjoy doing, particularly those living stealth. But really for any of us, it is uncomfortable and opens us up to the possibility of judgmental reactions from these strangers who have authority over us in that moment. Explaining to someone why I have a vagina, or why there is an elastic band around my waist with a pouch and a fake dick sounds like something really triggering.

Also, pat-downs are “conducted by same gender officers.” Obviously this could lead to awkward and even dangerous situations for trans people whose appearance may not lead to an obvious perception of male or female, or whose gender markers haven’t been changed, don’t match, etc. (Source)