Tuesday 20 August 2013

Linkspam: Germany introduces legal third gender!

Lashings of Ginger Bee TimerPosted by Lashings of Ginger Beer Time

As per the title, Germany has introduced a third legal gender - to be recognised on birth certificates, passports, and all other documentation. Thus far it's only to be permitted for intersex babies, but as the first country in the EU to legally recognise that gender isn't binary, this is a massive step. Though it does lead to the question: as one of the countries that requires babies' names to be approved by the local civil registry office, with particular reference to whether they indicate the gender of the child, and whether they are likely to negatively affect the kid's well-being, how precisely are they going to handle this...?

 In other overseas tenuously-medical news, the Lacks family -- descended from Henrietta Lacks, the woman whose cells, HeLa, have been staggeringly important to medicine since the fifties; they have a website -- has for the very first time been able to assert their right to choose whether to give consent for Henrietta's cells to be used in studies that are then made publically available. (Henrietta's life, what is known about it, is described in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot. Skloot is a white lady, but the book was written with the family's input and consent -- and the family read every single part of the manuscript & gave the go-ahead prior to publication. A percentage of the profits from book sales go to the Henrietta Lacks Foundation, a charity helping to provide access to education and medical care for Henrietta's descendants, and the descendants of other individuals who suffered similar treatment at the hands of medical research.)

There has been a lot of conversation about the Russian Olympics recently, including an open letter from Stephen Fry calling for a boycott. It is legitimately appalling that the International Olympic Committee is contemplating banning athletes who "stand up to" the institutionalised homophobia -- but this doesn't change the fact that Russian activists are actually asking that people not boycott the Olympics, instead requesting that people show up being their queer protesty selves.

Tangentially related, Judith Flanders takes on Straight Pride UK (no, they're not a joke -- sorry) -- by publishing a press release they apparently didn't want going public. A seven-year-old has been banned from ever saying the word "fracking". And from a trans woman, let's have this: It Doesn't Get Better [content notes: cissexism, murder].

But I Do Not Want My Daughter To Be 'Nice', says a parent who gets it, and our very own Sasha Goblin discusses an experience of exactly how far 'nice' doesn't get us [content notes: harassment]. At Global Comment, an old question is asked once more: why do some feminist spaces tolerate male abusers? [content notes: Hugo Schywzer, murder, suicide, drugs, abuse] -- while Lundy Bancroft provides a checklist for assessing change in men who abuse women (with rather broader applicability, naturally) [content notes: abuse].

From a US perspective, Salon this week published an article entitled The Politics of Being Friends with White People [content notes: racism].

... and back on home turf, the BBC has published a surprisingly competent article about polyamory -- and 18-year-old Gabrielle Turnquest became the youngest-ever lawyer when she was called to the bar last week. This is one kickass young lady.

What have you been reading, writing or thinking about this week?

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