No more funding for Sex Reassignment in Alberta

$700,000 per year, or $.19 per Albertan is going to be saved by delisting this procedure in Alberta.  Also note that Ontario de-listed the procedure for ten years, and was forced to reinstate it on grounds of human rights. Ultimately, I imagine the government will be spending at least as much as they intend to save by cutting the funds in the cost of litigation. I think the worst possible interpretation of this move is that this is just a senseless act of hate, feeding off of ignorance and the general sense of economic uncertainty to gain popular appeal. I’m having trouble coming up with a more charitable view though. SRS is a complicated issue that’s not cut-and-dry, even if you’re pro-trans, but tough issues aside I can’t even see the practical benefit to making this move.

Read more here

And check out the facebook group too. The info for the media discussion is particularly interesting.

Blind review

A movie review site lets you know how easy reviewed films are to watch by the visually impaired. In my home town (Toronto) the Edge radio station had a blind movie reviewer who was featured on the morning show. I think it was supposed to be tongue in cheek but the reviewer was really intelligent and witty, and he did report back on how easy it was to figure out what was going on.

Rape victims at fault?

Of the 15% of women who actually report their rape, 80% of cases are dropped by police- why? Insufficient evidence 21%, victim withdrawal 17%, victim denied to complete the initial process 17%, offender not identified 13%, false allegation 12%, insufficient evidence 5%, no prospect of conviction 2%, not in public interest 1%, other %12 (Stats from 2001/2)

Feminist philosophers reported, a little while ago, that in the UK victims of rape have been considered 25% culpable for the crimes committed against them if they were drinking- at least for the past year, anyway. Now, the claim is that this was never the policy of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. But it took the successful appeal of one victim to bring them to the conclusion that this in fact is what the policy states- and hers wasn’t the first appeal.

Interestingly, on the audio interview with the victim’s solicitor she says that the policy was that drinking would be taken into consideration, and in fact a prior appeal had been put for full compensation for a rape victim who had been drinking but her appeal had been denied. Now, however, Justice Minister Bridget Prentice says that it was a matter of misapplication of the policy in these prior cases. What seems to be the case is that there was a policy that drinking would be considered in compensating victims, but that the unwritten intention of this policy referred to cases where victims clearly bring things on themselves, such as when someone drinks too much and starts fights. But it also seems to be the case that for any number of crimes such as mugging or robbery, alcohol consumption by the victim may still be considered (the justice minister admits as much). So, in some cases victims may be responsible for crimes committed against them, except in cases of rape. Seems unlikely to me. I support the extra protection offered to victims of sexual assault provided by the justice system, but I do think that clarifying their policies for themselves if no one else, is essential to providing a sense that justice is served and maintaining public trust. There is clearly a sense in the UK that rape can be a victim’s fault, otherwise the 15 cases of victims being told as much would not have happened (check out the appalling discussion below this article- man after man saying women falsely accuse, protect the accused, etc. etc “Part of the problem is the fact that so many women are falsely accusing men of rape nowadays. A woman gets drunk and gives consent, yet in the morning can accuse the male of rape”). In order to change public thinking about the issue, it seems that Continue reading

More 10 Goodness!

I was thinking that it would be nice if we had a widget so that you could create your own ten lists at a whim. As it turns out, we do! Sort of… ok, so it’s just a search bar. But  I thought I’d draw your attention to it, it’s a great way to search for posts that focus on a similar topic.

Anyway, here’s ten posts that reflect what you’ve found interesting over the last month. Apparently some of you folks like reading old entries. A lot. However, the Olympics hype really shines though in your viewing patterns. Enjoy!

The Tasty Top Ten

  1. Can we ditch the fatty anorexics but save our own stupid selves?
  2. John Mark Stallings
  3. Natalie du Toit
  4. Ableist language alternatives
  5. Natalie du Toit carries South African flag at Olympics
  6. African American swimmer wins gold medal
  7. Body Worlds
  8. Tropic Thunder: from insult to injury
  9. Tropic Thunder box office expectations
  10. New Coke commercial features Special Olympics athletes

Dani, a feral child

The idea of a child who has grown largely without human contact or care is of interest to academics for a variety of reasons, whether the interest stems from questions about child development, or the nature/nurture problem. But I agree with jj in this post from Feminist Philosophers that the reality of “the feral child” is far from being the distant object of theoretical curiosity that it is often speculated as in classroom discussion.

Dani with her new family

Dani with her new family

This journalistic report on the story on Dani, a child who went largely without human contact until she was seven, does a remarkably good job of treating her as a person, rather than an object of medical intrigue. Dani was diagnosed with a kind of environmental autism due to this neglect. Included is an audio version of the story and a slide show, as well as links to other stories on Dani and a place for feedback.

The Olympian

Rebecca Solnit offers another look at the bodies of the Olympics, what they mean, and what they hide.

“On August 8, the Beijing Olympic Games will begin, and television will bring us weeks of the human body at the height of health, beauty, discipline, power, and grace. It will be a thousand-hour advertisement, in some sense, for the participating nations as represented by athletes with amazing abilities. In reality, the athletes will be something of a mask for what each nation really stands for, and this year the Olympics as a whole will be as much a coverup as, say, the Mexico City Olympics of 1968, which came hot on the heels of the Tlaltelolco Plaza massacre of students, or the 1936 Berlin Olympics, which gave the Nazis legitimacy as they turned Germany into an efficient totalitarian death factory. Ironically, the 2008 summer Olympics begin on the twentieth anniversary of the 8888 (for 8/8/1988 ) Burma uprising against the brutal military dictatorship that has controlled that country, with crucial backing from China, for more than four decades now. The Chinese government is also busy terrorizing Tibetans protesting for religious freedom and liberation of their colonized country; it is also the main protector of the Sudanese government carrying out a holocaust in Darfur. Continue reading

Blindness

A still shot from the movie with one seeing woman leading a train of blind people behind her

A still shot from the movie with one blond, seeing woman leading a train of about 7 blind people behind her through cars parked haphazardly on a street. The people she leads seem to be walking with a hand on each others shoulder, or else by holding hands. One child has his eyes shut but the others have open, unfocused eyes. The image is overexposed, making colours look pale and washed out.

What happens when an epidemic makes people turn blind suddenly in the middle of their everyday lives? Well, you lock them up in an abandoned mental institution, tell them to distribute rations as they see fit, and a “Lord of the Flies” situation ensues (because blindness makes you lose your sense of humanity, perhaps) until, of course, the one person who can see infiltrates the blind exiles and saves them!

The promo page has a video and written synopsis. The video is audio-visual, no captions, but the synopsis below it roughly explicates what happens in the images. The official website (called Blindness- this fall, our vision of the world will change forever) is rife with bad jokes- you can choose to “see more” to go on to other pages, or “spread blindness”(!) to email it to your friends. The images are harsh and white, fogging in and out with overexposed photographs. The Guardian offers some more written review. I get that it’s supposed to be a horror movie, and no doubt widespread, sudden blindness would be horrible. But I wonder about how people feel about the fact that they require a seeing person to save them.