Archive | July 2017

Cartoonist Sophie Labelle tells the Trans Advocate of Neo-Nazi attacks

10887151_349427518572852_6878044040955739326_oMy favourite transgender cartoonist Sophie Labelle, creator of Assigned Male Comics and colouring books which challenge gender stereotypes and teach children that it is normal to be whoever they are, has made it to the Trans Advocate.

Sadly, it is because of the attacks that Sophie has suffered from transphobes, TERFs, and more recently Neo-Nazis.  I have personally seen some of the attacks the lovely Sophie has been subjected to, including death threats, and believe me they make me pale ~ and I don’t scare easily.  So how she keeps that pretty face smiling speaks volumes of the courage of this beautiful young lady.

Earlier this year her Facebook page was cloned by Neo-Nazis posting transphobic hate messages.

Assigned Male Comics surrounds the life of a little transgender girl, Stephie, who like all good cartoon characters, finds a special place in your heart where she will stay with you forever.

Link to the Trans Advocate article:

https://www.advocate.com/current-issue/2017/7/20/young-trans-artist-targeted-neo-nazis

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UK Government to Overhaul Gender Recognition

GRC applicationBe better scrapping it altogether.

The UK government is to carry out a consultation on changing legal gender for transgender easier than the mess it currently is.

Under the 2004 Gender Recognition Act, those wishing to change legal gender have to undergo a lengthy bureaucratic and demeaning process to gain a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC), and it is only once they have a GRC that they can change their gender on official documents.

To gain a GRC, a transgender person over 18 must

  • be diagnosed with Gender Dysphoria
  • have lived fully for the last two years in their acquired gender
  • prove that they intend to live permanently in an acquired gender

The applicant sends their application, along with supporting documentation – and a £140 fee, to the Gender Recognition Panel, based in Leicester, who then forward it to the actual panels of HM Courts & Tribunals Service, where civil servants deliberate over them and decide whether or not to grant the GRC.

Paper applications are usually accepted, although in exceptional cases an oral hearing can take place, which means the application having to make a trip to London, possibly staying overnight, and being interrogated by a cisgender panel.

Many transgender people don’t even bother to apply for a GRC, not only because of the bureaucracy, but because they see it as an unwelcome governmental intrusion into their private lives.

The Equalities Minister Justine Greening said that the government, having listened to activists, intends to set up a consultation upon the process in autumn. Proposals include removing the need for medical diagnosis of gender recognition, with transgender people being able to self-diagnose, as is the case in the Republic of Ireland, and scrapping the two-year transitioning period.

I can only say it’s not before bloody time, dears. The entire process of applying for a GRC, before a transgender person can even get a birth certificate with their ‘acquired’ gender upon it, is overtly bureaucratic, an unwelcome intrusion into private lives and costly for many.

The two-year transition puts young transgender people at a distinct disadvantage, as not only do they have to first be medically diagnosed with Gender Dysphoria, they then have to live for two years under the gender they identify with, which means they will be at least 20 years old before they can even think of applying for a GRC. As I have pointed out before, this can lead to transgender young offenders being put in danger, when they are sent to prisons according to their assigned birth gender.

There is no mention however of doing away with the fee for a GRC. This puts transgender people in the lower income bracket completely at a disadvantage. Who can afford £140 for a GRC when they are struggling to make ends meet? How many poorer transgender people will even think of a GRC when their more pressing priority is getting a food bank referral? Where is this money going anyway, apart from into government coffers? As far as I can see the GRC is nothing short of a “Trans Tax”.

But another thought crosses my mind, and that is just what is the Scottish Government doing about gender recognition in Scotland. On 31st May 2016 the Scottish National Party (SNP) First Minister, the simply lovely Nicola Sturgeon, vowed that if she were re-elected that she would make changes for transgender and non-binary people in Scotland to bring gender recognition “iin line with international best practice”.

Nicola Sturgeon, who was duly re-elected, promised to allow transgender people to change their birth certificates and other official documents without need for medical diagnosis, legal recognition for 16-17 year old transgender people – allowing them to change their birth certificates without parental permission, and the legal recognition of non-binary individuals, intersex equality, and same-sex pension equity.

One year on, the SNP repeated these promises in their 2017 General Election manifesto. Well, the SNP have been re-elected to the Scottish Parliament for over a year now, the General Election took place on 8 June, and the SNP still managed to get more votes than Labour, the Tories, and the Lib-Dems put together – and I am seeing no apparent movement on these promises.

Come on, Nicola. You’re dragging your heels, dear (as nice heels as they may be).  It would be terribly embarrassing for Westminster to beat Holyrood to the post on this issue.  Especially considering they already did so on same-sex marriage.

Looking for an Ark Encounter?

20045521_1596311390399211_7503626277058911484_oYou have to see this, dears.  Creationist Ken Ham, founder of Answers in Genesis (AiG), the Creation Museum in Pittsburg, Kentucky, and Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Virginia, has had the latter lit up in rainbow colours at night.

Ken Ham, maintains that the Biblical record of creation is historically and chronologically accurate, the entire universe being created by God in six days, 6000 years ago.  He completely refutes biological evolution, despite looking so simian himself that he could get a part in a Planet of the Apes movie – without any need for make-up.

Kenny baby has now had his ailing exhibition lit up in an attempt to “reclaim” the rainbow from the LGBT+ community.

The photo on his Facebook page was accompanied with the following statement;

“We now have new permanent rainbow lights at the Ark Encounter so all can see that it is God’s rainbow and He determines its meaning in Genesis 6.

The rainbow is a reminder God will never again judge the wickedness of man with a global Flood—next time the world will be judged by fire.

The Ark is lit permanently at night with a rainbow to remind the world that God owns it and He decreed it’s a sign of His covenant with man after the Flood—Christians need to take back the rainbow as we do at the Ark Encounter.”

Personally, I think it looks simply FABULOUS!  I simply LOVE it.

Ark Encounter, which was originally meant to be a life-size replica of Noah’s Ark, with displays and anitromic animals – and dinosaurs – opened on 7 July 2016, after a controversial start.  Tax incentives were given to AiG to build the project on the grounds that it would attract tourism into the area.  Public money was used to build roads and other infrastructure to the attraction also on the basis that it would be recouped through tourism.  Both of these measures brought complaints from American secularists and atheists, pointing out that the US Constitution expressly establishes a ‘wall between church and state’.  Nonetheless, the project went ahead.

Then AiG discovered they could not make it as authentic as they liked.  Irksome little things such as health and safety laws, fire escapes, public lavatories, sanitation, electricity ducts, ventilation, light, etc, meant that instead of a full boat with one door and window, Ken Ham had to build half an ark with several windows, resting on concrete pillars, and supported by modern buildings to the rear.

Following complaints of discriminatory employment practices, the US Federal Court ruled in 2016 that AiG could insist in their terms of employment that employees must believe that the Bible is the historically accurate word of God and accept and believe in Young Earth Creation.

Ken ham  boasted that the number of visitors would be over 2 million per year.  In fact, people have failed to appear in such numbers, and Ham himself has kept downplaying the estimate of visitor numbers.  In an interview in Gospel Herald, Ham stated that in the first year Ark Encounter may hit their own lower estimate for the first year of operation of 1.1 million visitors.  The Lexington Herald Leader reported on 2 July 2017 that Ark Encounter co-founder Mike Zorath stated that the Ark would welcome it’s 1 millionth visitor in July.

And what caused this failure in visitor numbers?  Well, first Ken Ham tried to claim it was due to opening in the middle of the holiday season.  That may well be true, but it was Ken Ham himself who chose to open it on 7 July 2016, to reflect Genesis 7:7, “And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood.”  So if it failed, due to bad timing, Ham has no-one but himself to blame for that.

But then, he can always blame the atheists.  Which is precisely what Ken Ham did in a June 2017 AiG blog post;

“Recently, a number of articles in the mainstream media, on blogs, and on well-known secularist group websites have attempted to spread propaganda to brainwash the public into thinking our Ark Encounter attraction is a dismal failure.

Sadly, they (atheists and the secular media) are influencing business investors and others in such a negative way that they may prevent Grant County, Kentucky, from achieving the economic recovery that its officials and residents have been seeking.”

The latest controversial move is AiG selling the park – to themselves.  AiG applied for an exemption to a new local safety tax in Grant County, Virginia, on the grounds that it was a religious organisation.   On June 29, Williamstown City Attorney Jeffrey Shipp rejected their request, stating that it was clear that Ark Encounter is a for-profit entity, which is how it has been listed with the Secretary of State’s office since 2011.  AiG’s reaction was to sell their main parcel of land at the park, which the Ark sits on, to their not-for-profit subsidiary, Crosswater Canyon, for the princely sum of $10, so that it can be reclassified as a religious organisation.

Seems to me that Ken Ham and his associates need to make up their mind.  It is either a visitor attraction, or a religious organisation.  If it is the latter, then it should not be given tax incentives which would breach the secular US Constitution.

Of course, if he is really struggling, he could always turn the largest timber structure in the world into the world’s biggest LGBT+ nightclub.  Whaddya say, Kenny baby?