The last few years (OK, decades and really centuries, maybe even millenia) have been challenging ones for women fighting for equal rights. Gail Gauthier at Original Content speculated with a friend that "feminism has gone down the toilet" in recent years. In the Western world, we've been called Nazis, elitists, racists, intellectuals, classists, man-haters, lesbians, witches, and all sorts of other names. (All are true at times except the first slur, which infuriates me to no end.) But a post written by Zachary Mason, a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali, which struck me as earnest if not naive, got me thinking about the importance of toilets to women, and what bathroom facilities mean in strict gendered societies.
Obviously, the 2008 presidential election will be a watershed moment for the diversity of its candidates. However, it might also be the moment when the political movement among gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people comes of age. The Democratic candidates have promised to support GLBT rights in the workplace, hate crimes laws and the repeal of the "Don't ask, don't tell" rules that keep GLBT members of the military in the closet.
November 20th is the ninth annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. This year's commemoration is taking places in various locations around the globe, as well as in Second Life (SLurl). But while past commemorations were marked primarily by lamentations for the departed and calls for trans-inclusive legislation, some activists are using today to register their frustration with leaders of the gay and lesbian movement who supported a workplace discrimination bill that ignores people who are gender-variant.
Blawg Review has a two-part carnival on transgender issues. The first part focused on the persistence of discrimination, where Dr. Jillian Todd Weiss explained that Nov. 19 was also the 50th anniversary of a little-known holiday, Equal Opportunity Day:
"U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed November 19 as Equal Opportunity Day, saying: "Let every citizen of the United States, whether an employer or employee, farmer or businessman, join in the effort to abolish all artificial discrimination which hinders the right of each American to advance in accordance with his merits as a human being and his capacity for productive work."
Bloggers concerned about possible infringements on their First Amendment rights have a new resource to turn to: the new Legal Threats Database from the Citizens' Media Law Project. A joint project of Harvard's Berkman Center for the Internet and Society and the Center for Citizen Media, the database archives information about lawsuits and other attacks on bloggers and citizen journalists. If you've been threatened because of your online speech, you're invited to submit your case to the database, or send a message using the CMLP's contact form.
That's a sample of some of the interesting news and commentary out there in the legal blogosphere. Here's more.
Here's my beef with capitalism: while the system works in theory because businesses want to recruit the most qualified, talented, smartest, and overall best people to work for them, the reality is that capitalism is a system administered by humans. As humans, we tend to let our prejudices, biases, and ignorance guide our decisions, which historically leads to discrimination against people who are different than those in charge.
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