Category Archives: World News

What Being Non-Binary Means

By: Alexis Martinez

Most of you have probably heard the term Non-Binary before, but many of you may still be confused about what that entirely means. When you identify yourself as Non-Binary, it means that you don’t belong to a specific gender. You don’t necessarily fall into the category of “male” or “female”.

Many people have felt this way for a long time but didn’t exactly have a term to identify themselves as. Today as a society, we need to understand that there are more than two genders. Conservatives use the argument that people are being “snowflakes”, but they need to realize that life goes beyond man and woman. People can feel as if they don’t belong to a label, and that’s okay.

Instead of he or she, Non-Binary people go by the pronoun they. This may take a little while to get used to, but you must call someone by their preferred pronoun. One big mistake that you could make is constantly calling them by the incorrect pronoun and not correcting yourself, or making an effort to change your habits.

Please make sure to educate yourself on gender identities. These topics can be sensitive and if we take time to educate ourselves then our society will become more inclusive. It is okay to ask questions to your non-binary friends, but don’t make them feel like they’re so much different than you. Let’s get together and fight gender stereotypes!

 

Sources

http://www.transequality.org/issues/resources/understanding-non-binary-people-how-to-be-respectful-and-supportive

http://everydayfeminism.com/2017/02/things-not-to-say-non-binary-ppl/

He Attacks Again

By: Alexis Martinez

On Tuesday morning, we woke up to a stream of tweets from Donald Trump. He was attacking and belittling the Transgender community. He called them a financial burden, and said that they couldn’t serve in the military anymore. This is extremely frightening and alarming. What happened to America being about freedom? Equality? This can’t be dismissed anymore.

This is the President of the United States. He is calling a whole community of people a financial burden. This is what he cares about. He doesn’t seem to understand what he’s doing. He is discriminating against the Transgender community because of money. He would much rather dismiss them than realize that they are human. Any American is allowed to serve their country no matter their sexual orientation or gender.

This isn’t surprising at all, but it is incredibly disappointing. Donald Trump claims that he will fight for the LGBTQ+ community but still continues to hurt them. Trans rights are human rights and every American deserves to fight for their country if they wish to.

Remember that you are important. You deserve the same rights as everyone else. Donald Trump’s constant attacks on the LGBTQ+ community are absolutely disgusting. But you have millions of supporters here with you. The transgender community fights every day and does more than Donald Trump has ever done. He hasn’t fought for anything in his life.

If you are feeling scared or overwhelmed right now, please talk to someone. Your feelings are valid and it is most important that you are able to vent and discuss how this impacts you. Feeling emotional in times like these is okay. Stay strong.

 

Sources

 

http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/27/politics/trump-military-transgender-ban-joint-chiefs/index.html

 

 

Who is Lori Robinson?

By: Emma Ziulkowski

Lori Robinson is the first woman combatant commander for the United States Air Force. Robinson is tasked with making life or death decisions in regards to warfighting commands. Robinson monitors Air Force activities for Airmen serving in Japan, South Korea, Hawaii, Alaska and Guam. Robinson’s expertise venture past aircrafts and war into space drones and cyber security. She was recently tasked to create allies with Canada to monitor the air and sea surrounding both nations. There is a plethora of responsibilities that come with Robinson’s new job title, but she displays nothing less than resilience.

Robinson should not be recognized for her accomplishments due to her gender. She is qualified for the position she has earned. However, I believe Robinson is an excellent role model to younger women. Robinson is recognized by Time magazine as being one of one-hundred most influential individuals listed in one of their articles. Robinson graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. She acquired an overwhelming amount of education since college. Prior to her most recent promotion, Robinson has been climbing the latter of promotions since she began proudly representing the United States Air Force back in 1981. In addition, she is adorned by a compelling amount of awards. If you’re interested in viewing her long list of accomplishments, please visit: http://www.af.mil/About-Us/Biographies/Display/Article/108119/general-lori-j-robinson/

Again, Lori Robinson is an excellent role model for young women. She has proven that you may attain anything you wish if you work hard for it.

 

Sources:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/may/13/air-force-general-is-1st-woman-at-top-tier-us-comb/

They NEED access to reproductive health services too.

By: Emma Emma Ziulkowski

The lack of reproductive health services in developing countries has been a major problem resulting in many deaths. Reproductive health is important for a woman’s mental, psychical, and social well-being. The failure of reproductive health services leads to high rates of maternal mortality, HIV outbreaks, pelvic infections, unhealthy pregnancies and so much more.

Joseph Kasonde is well known in Europe as the Acting Regional Adviser for Women’s and Reproductive Health. He collects research for the lack of reproductive health services in developing countries. Kasonde says, “Ninety percent of the 585,000 women who die annually in the world from pregnancy related complications are in developing countries.” That’s such a high percentage for developing countries which makes it known that these high rates of maternal mortality are due to the lack of reproductive health services. According to the World Health Organization, “… at the end of 2007, 33.2 million people were living with HIV… more than 95% of HIV infections are in developing countries.” Imagine how many of those 33.2 million people are women, and how many of these women don’t have knowledge of their HIV infection due to the lack of reproductive health services? How many women do you think pass HIV to their newborn children unintentionally? Pelvic infections are another common issue women have in developing countries that often times lead to infertility. In addition, women are having unhealthy pregnancies because there’s no prenatal care being offered to them.

These developing countries are being prevented from having basic social and economic advancements that developed countries have. These are hard to obtain because these countries are extremely poor. It’s a vicious cycle that always comes back to money. There are many programs that allow people to donate to these developing countries especially on matters of reproductive health services, but the money usually goes to individuals that need immediate help.

The bigger picture is that money needs to be invested in these reproductive health services now, so in the future there will be less money going towards all these health problems stated above. Global partnerships are needed to help finance these reproductive health services so these developing countries can focus on preventing these problems. We need to establish health centers similar to Planned Parenthood in these developing countries to help with their reproductive health services. Hopefully, these health centers can offer what Planned Parenthood does. Services like prenatal care, contraceptives, vaccines, HIV testing, gynecological exams and more. Eventually, these centers can hopefully offer services at a discounted rate just as Planned Parenthood does.

Sources:

http://www.unmillenniumproject.org/documents/UNMP1_FactsFigures_SRH.pdf

http://www.gfmer.ch/Endo/Lectures_09/kasonde.htm

http://www.who.int/immunization/topics/hiv/en/index1.html

 

LGBT potential parents face discrimination in Texas on religious grounds

Cassie Manz

Two years ago, gay marriage was legalized in the United States. It was a historic day, celebrated with pride and love by people all across the country. LGBTQ folks would now be able to marry in a court of law and experience all the benefits and rights that marriage entails.

And before LGBTQ folks could get married, they could still legally become parents.

In 1978 New York became the first state to say it wouldn’t reject adoption applicants solely because of “homosexuality.” In 1997 New Jersey became the first state to allow same-sex couples to adopt jointly.

In 2015, the same year gay marriage became legal, the Every Child Deserves a Family Act was introduced to Congress but didn’t pass the Senate. If passed, the bill would have prohibited any child welfare agency that receives federal funding from discriminating against any potential foster or adoptive parent/s on the basis of “sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status,” according to the Human Rights Campaign. The act would also prevent discrimination against any foster youth because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

If only this bill had managed to make it through Congress.

Last month, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott passed House Bill 3859 which allows adoption and foster care agencies to deny services or turn away prospective parents based on the agencies’ “sincerely held religious beliefs.” Many LGBTQ advocates, as well as Texas Democrats, have claimed the bill discriminates against LGBTQ folks hoping to adopt or become foster parents.

Many opponents of this bill claim that it does not have the best interests of the children at heart. There is a large number of children in this country who need a home, and whether or not that home consists of two gay parents should not matter.

Currey Cook, director of the Youth in Out-of-Home Care Project, told Jezebel’s politics podcast Big Time Dicks, that the law will also affect children in foster care: HB 3859 allows agencies to either refuse care to children or refuse to recognize their gender identity or sexual orientation.

In this current political climate, it is imperative that we, as citizens, remain involved in the lawmaking process to prevent unjust laws from being passed. We need to continue to call our senators and representatives and voice our opinions. And we must continue to stand up and fight for what we believe in and what we think is right: like the idea that who you love shouldn’t make a difference in whether or not you get to be a parent.

 

Sources:

http://theslot.jezebel.com/texas-law-allows-child-welfare-agencies-to-discriminate-1796368197

http://www.washingtonblade.com/2012/10/11/milestones-in-lgbt-parenting-history/

http://www.hrc.org/resources/every-child-deserves-a-family-act

https://www.dallasnews.com/news/texas-legislature/2017/05/10/texas-house-passes-bill-protectingreligious-adoption-agencies-deny-services-turn-away-prospective-parents

 

Your Biological Sex Could Be Treated as A Pre-Existing Condition

By: Nicole McLaren

 

The American Health Care Act (AHCA) that recently made it through the House and will now be voted on by the Senate treats the female sex as though their anatomy is a burden that they should carry the weight for. This bill was designed by 13 men, not a single woman had a say in it. Maybe that is why the pre-existing conditions that disproportionately effect women. It leaves it up to the individual states to determine what a pre-existing condition is and how they will be covered by insurance companies.

Some of these “pre-existing conditions” include: c-sections, domestic violence, sexual assault and postpartum depression. These are clearly forms of gender discrimination since these “conditions” effect mostly people who identify as women. The AHCA claims that it does not allow insurance providers to discriminate based on gender, although that is clearly not the case when they have taken away coverage for preexisting conditions.

Before the passing of the Affordable Care Act this was the case for women in the U.S. who faced discrimination from insurance providers because they were seen as more costly to insure. In 2002, The Huffington Post shared a story from Christina Turner, a woman who was denied health insurance after being raped and taking medication to prevent HIV. Even though she did not develop HIV the insurance company would not insure her because they viewed her as too much of a “risk”.

When insurance companies are allowed to put profits over providing healthcare to people, discrimination against women and other at risk groups will continue to occur. The AHCA bill allows states and insurance companies to decide what is a pre-existing condition and to make a profit off of the misfortune and unpreventable circumstances that happen to so many women, like having to have a c-section, being a victim of rape or abuse, and suffering from postpartum depression.

Why should having a child or being a victim prevent someone from obtaining health insurance? That is the question we have to ask our Senators now that our House representatives have failed to use their power to oppose this bill.

 

https://www.women.com/angie/lists/trumpcare-targets-women-could-deny-coverage-due-to-assault-or-c-sections

Transforming the Narrative Around Gender Confirmation

By: Nicole McLaren

The U.S. has seen an almost 20% rise in gender confirmation surgeries in 2016. There were more than 3,200 transfeminine and transmasculine surgeries last year. This is only one part of the process for a transgender person and there is a variety of surgeries available for the individual.

Access to gender confirmation surgeries is improving and in 2014 Medicare’s ban on using funding for these surgeries was lifted. Now Medicare will pay for surgery on a case by case basis. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) prohibited insurance companies that receive federal funding from treating gender identity as a preexisting condition. This was a major win for the transgender community that is now at stake because of the new healthcare bill that is now in the senate. The rise in gender confirmation surgeries can be tied to access to health care thanks to the ACA which is now threatened because the new administration.

While 2016 saw a rise in gender confirmation surgeries there was also another record broken in the trans community, at least 22 trans people were murdered. A trans rights activist, Gearah Goldstein, said that this is due to the “hyper-focus on the transgender experience.” The current administration has also removed the Obama’s transgender bathroom guidelines, which makes life harder for those who do not conform to gender norms.

The narrative around the transgender community is facing both wins and losses but the visibility of trans folks is on the rise and allows them to control their stories.

Female Circumcision aka Female Genital Mutilation

 

By: Cassandra Hedrick

Female genital mutilation, also known as female circumcision, is a procedure that removes part or all of the outer part of the female genitals. It is very painful and dangerous, causing pain throughout the victim’s life. It happens mostly in eastern Africa and parts of Asia, but can happen to girls anywhere.

The mutilation can range from just the removal of clitoris and lips (clitoridectomy) to sewing the lips over the vagina (infibulation). It happens to girls in infancy or adolescents, but can also happen to older women as well. The immediate consequences include severe pain, infection, shock, and sometimes death. However, the effects are lifelong. Long term consequences include urinary and vaginal problems, need for surgery later in life, and psychological problems, such as depression and low self-esteem.

Female circumcision is most popular in western and eastern regions in Africa, the Middle East, and some countries in Asia. In these places, it is considered a social norm and believed necessary to raising girls. It is also considered a way to keep women sexually pure by stopping them from wanting to engage in sexual behavior. It is also supposed to increase marriageability.

Female genital mutilation is considered a violation of human rights. Recently, there has been a wider international effort to stop it through more political involvement in countries where it is popular. These  efforts include strengthening the health sector involvement in this issue and education people on why female circumcision is harmful. Stop FGM Now is a campaign working to stop female genital mutilation. You can learn more about how to get involved and save women from female genital mutilation at their website.

Biological Sex DOES NOT Equal Pre-existing Condition

By: Nicole McLaren

The American Health Care Act (AHCA) that recently made it through the House and will now be voted on by the Senate treats the female sex as though their anatomy is a burden that they should carry the weight for. This bill was designed by 13 men, not a single woman had a say in it. Maybe that is why the pre-existing conditions that disproportionately effect women. It leaves it up to the individual states to determine what a pre-existing condition is and how they will be covered by insurance companies.

Some of these “pre-existing conditions” include: c-sections, domestic violence, sexual assault and postpartum depression. These are clearly forms of gender discrimination since these “conditions” effect mostly people who identify as women. The AHCA claims that it does not allow insurance providers to discriminate based on gender, although that is clearly not the case when they have taken away coverage for preexisting conditions.

Before the passing of the Affordable Care Act this was the case for women in the U.S. who faced discrimination from insurance providers because they were seen as more costly to insure. In 2002, The Huffington Post shared a story from Christina Turner, a woman who was denied health insurance after being raped and taking medication to prevent HIV. Even though she did not develop HIV the insurance company would not insure her because they viewed her as too much of a “risk”.

When insurance companies are allowed to put profits over providing healthcare to people, discrimination against women and other at risk groups will continue to occur. The AHCA bill allows states and insurance companies to decide what is a pre-existing condition and to make a profit off of the misfortune and unpreventable circumstances that happen to so many women, like having to have a c-section, being a victim of rape or abuse, and suffering from postpartum depression.

Why should having a child or being a victim prevent someone from obtaining health insurance? That is the question we have to ask our Senators now that our House representatives have failed to use their power to oppose this bill.

https://www.women.com/angie/lists/trumpcare-targets-women-could-deny-coverage-due-to-assault-or-c-sections

Education Rights for Women (Or lack there of)

By: Cassandra Hedrick

In first world countries like America there is not really a gap between boys and girls school attendance. However, in many countries around the world there is an issue with girls not being able to get an education. In Afghanistan, girls only make up 1/3 of students and they make up 2/3s of illiterate adults worldwide. While we are moving in the direction of gender equality when it comes to education, we are not quite there. There are many factors contributing to this lack of education for girls, the main ones being poverty, race or ethnicity, and location.

Kids in poverty stricken countries are less likely to attend school. Girls are 2% less likely to go to school because they tend to stay at home and help with household duties. Similarly, girls from rural areas are less likely to attend school for the same reason, as well as because of the distance they live from schools. In parts of the world where there is a lot of war and violence, girls may not be able to attend school because it is dangerous for them to go. However, no matter where are in the world, racial and ethnic minorities always attend school at lower rates. This means the gender disparities are accentuated.

We need to pay more attention to gender inequality in education. Just because we don’t see it very often in America, doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen all over the world. There are gender disparities in education, caused by poverty, location, and race. If you want to help fix this, you can visit the United Nations Girls Education Initiative to find out more.