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On Passports, Mother and Father Will Soon Be ‘Parent 1′ and ‘Parent 2′

Posted: January 7th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , | No Comments »

The terms "mother" and "father" on US passport applications are being replaced with the gender-neutral terms "Parent 1" and "Parent 2". Jennifer Chrisler of the Family Equality Council said the change "allows many different types of families to be able to go and apply for a passport…without feeling like the government doesn't recognize their family." Naturally, anti-gay hate groups like the Family Research Council are outraged, saying the change "violates the spirit if not the letter of the Defense of Marriage Act."

The change also highlights a staggeringly underreported issue: the technological infrastructure our society uses to classify people. Changing terms on forms costs real dollars, but perhaps counterintuitively, a gender-neutral infrastructure is not just more humane, it's more cost-effective, too.

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Protect your body from airport perverts (travel.msn.co.nz)

Posted: July 24th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Terrorism: it's a threat to more than just national security. It's also a threat to your dignity. Or at least that's what Michael Luongo, spokesperson for a new company called FlyingPasties.com would have you believe. His company sells stripper-style genital covers that cost anywhere from $9.99 for a "generic male bottom" pastie to $29.99 for an "only my husband/wife sees me naked" set in order to obscure the image of a passenger's naked body when going through the newest "virtual strip search" airport security scanners.

"I believe in protecting our rights, in protecting our country," Luongo says in a promo video, "but I also believe in maintaining our dignity." Dignity that could be lost, he says, if you're seen naked. With Flying Pasties, he insists "you don't have to worry about somebody seeing your wife, your girlfriend, your family, or even yourself in naked imagery." That's right: People might know that you're naked under your clothes! But don't worry, capitalism will save us.

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Stereotype: Debunked. Latinos Are MORE Progressive on Gender – COLORLINES

Posted: July 14th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Moral panics often seem to go along with Republican xenophobia. As Michelle Chen writes, "the country's changing racial and ethnic landscape alarms conservative elites for deeper reasons than only skin color. It's what the browning of America represents: the gradual displacement of a homogeneous status quo with pluralism by necessity."

To wit, surveys by the Center for American Progress reveal facts challenging media stereotypes: "Latinos overwhelmingly view the rise of women in the workforce as good for society." (87% of Latino women, 82% of men, 7-10 points higher than men and women overall) Also, "Latinos express some of the highest levels of support for changes to governmental…policies" like increased paid medical leave. "Maybe when it comes to some social issues, including gender," Chen opines, "hardship has a way of pushing people to embrace new ideas."

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State Department Eases Passport Restrictions for Transgender Americans | GLAADBlog.org

Posted: June 10th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

"Transgender Americans will no longer be required to undergo gender reassignment surgery in order to change their gender on U.S. passports," Cindi Creager writes. The U.S. Department of State announced on Monday that the "new policy and procedures are based on standards and recommendations of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH)…." They also make it "possible to obtain a limited-validity passport if the physician’s statement shows the applicant is in the process of gender transition." Similarly, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad can also be amended.

Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) executive director Michael D. Silverman praised the change, saying, "Adoption of this safety-focused policy is a giant step forward in protecting transgender Americans abroad, and in fulfilling the State Department’s commitment to protect all Americans when they travel, work or live overseas."

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Travellers to be searched for porn

Posted: May 27th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Australian customs officials have been asking travelers to declare "pornography" when entering the country. "If you & your partner have filmed or photographed yourselves making love in an exotic destination or even taking a bath, you will have to answer 'Yes' to the question or you will be breaking the law," Fiona Patten, president of the Australian Sex Party says. Patten is demanding an inquiry into why the question doesn't only ask about illegal pornography. “Is it fair that customs officers rummage through someone's luggage and pull out a legal men's magazine or a lesbian journal in front of their children or their mother-in-law?” she asks.

Sydney Morning Herald reports that "Colin Jacobs, chairman of the lobby group Electronic Frontiers Australia, said the change appeared to have sneaked under the radar 'without any public consultation about the massive privacy issues'." Even Hetty Johnson, chief executive of child protection group Bravehearts, agreed the question was too broad.

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