We fight hard for our love to be respected equally, but it’s important that we take time to cherish that love too. Happy Valentine’s Day from the entire ThinkProgress team.
Stories tagged with “ThinkProgress”
A number of ThinkProgress readers have expressed concern over Monday’s widely-shared post, “APA Revises Manual: Being Transgender Is No Longer A Mental Disorder,” about the American Psychiatric Association’s decision to revise the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) to reclassify “Gender Identity Disorder” (GID) as “Gender Dysphoria.” A prominent LGBT scholar called the headline “erroneous,” noting that as long as a designation exists in the DSM, trans identities are still treated as a disorder. One trans advocate pointed out that “Gender Dysphoria” still stigmatizes trans people because there’s no exit clause to the diagnosis. Another activist shared a letter (Ansara, et al) that she and others submitted to the APA criticizing much of its framing around trans identities and providing possible alternatives. One other trans health activist called the article “a bit of a pinkwash” — essentially an attempt to give the APA more credit than it deserves.
As a cisgender (not trans) gay male who edits ThinkProgress’s LGBT vertical, I assume a heightened responsibility to report on trans issues effectively and thoroughly. For all members of the LGBT community, there are many issues that impact us in very personal and unique ways, resulting in many seemingly-conflicting points of view that all have validity. Many of the points submitted by readers have such merit, and the continued discussion seems an apt opportunity to further explore the complexity of anti-trans stigma and the potential impact of the APA’s decision.
For what it’s worth, ThinkProgress was not alone in its framing. Slate similarly reported “Being Transgender Is No Longer a Disorder.” The AP also compared this change to the 1973 removal of homosexuality as a disorder. Other LGBT outlets, like GLAAD, reported that “Gender Identity Disorder” had been removed from the DSM and that the idea trans people are disordered is now antiquated. Indeed, this was the intention behind yesterday’s post: to emphasize the value of the rhetorical change while acknowledging that complications remain.
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Today marks the third annual Spirit Day, on which individuals wear purple (the color of “spirit” from the Pride Flag) to show solidarity against anti-LGBT bullying and harassment of any kind. It was created in 2010 by a Canadian teenager named Brittany McMillan in response to a spate of suicides that gripped national headlines. ThinkProgress and our colleagues at the Center for American Progress Action Fund are again proud partners of today’s event and have worn purple today to show that bullying does not have a place in a peaceful, progressive society:
A note from Zack Ford, editor of ThinkProgress LGBT:
It’s hard to believe that two years have already passed since we were all first ravaged by the tragic suicides that served as our wake-up call about bullying, and yet it seems like just yesterday. That’s only two years that we’ve had “It Gets Better” as part of our vernacular, only two years that names like Seth Walsh, Justin Aaberg, and Tyler Clementi have been known to us, and only two years that we’ve really taken stock of just how negative our school climates have become. The advent of new technology is not without its consequences, and social media has created a venue for bullying to persist 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for some young people. Such constant negative messages can reinforce depression, lower self-esteem, and create environments devoid of joy, with repercussions for both those inclined to bully and their victims. Given how little we still understand about the full impact of bullying in the modern era, it is likely that we still grossly underestimate the lasting harm it causes for young people when it goes unaddressed.
This was most apparent two me two years ago when I attended the funeral of 14-year-old Brandon Bitner. Brandon’s death hit close to home — literally. He lived just a few towns away from where I grew up in central Pennsylvania, and was a musician studying at the same university where I, too, had taken lessons in high school. Bullied repeatedly for his perceived sexual orientation, Brandon took his own life in the wake of other suicides that had made national news. It was clear from the reactions I witnessed and discussions I heard at his funeral that his community was none the wiser on the issue of bullying from his death, at least not in the immediate. In fact, the pastor’s eulogy did not even mention how Brandon had been treated at school, choosing instead to blame his depression and ignore any of the factors that might have exacerbated it.
Bullying is a very real part of our culture, and it is an injustice to all people of all ages if we try to hide, ignore, or downplay it. Claims that bullying is just a part of growing up are defenses of bullying that allow its torment to persist. Wearing purple for a day might seem like a small act that doesn’t accomplish much, but any opportunity to refresh and refocus our awareness of the bullying epidemic is an important occasion indeed. Promoting respect and understanding is a very long journey that will surely extend beyond any of our lifetimes, but one day of progress toward safer schools and healthier young people is progress nevertheless. I couldn’t be more proud to be part of a team that supports that mission.
In celebration of the Fourth of July, ThinkProgress has compiled the following 10 things Americans and progressives can be proud of as we celebrate our country’s independence:
1) Americans serving our country at home and abroad. 1,452,939 Armed Service members, 80,000 AmeriCorps members, and 9,095 Peace Corps volunteers and trainees are serving our country, at home and abroad.
2) Obamacare upheld. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional, paving the way for full implementation of the law in the states and ensuring that millions of uninsured Americans haves access to affordable coverage.
When I started this blog two and a half years ago, it was an experiment, a chance for me to see if I wanted to write about culture full-time, and an attempt to see if political, mostly cheerful, sometimes deeply cranky culture blog could find a home in the awesome, experimental wilderness that is online criticism. It turns out that I did, and that it could. And I’m deeply grateful that ThinkProgress and the Center for American Progress decided to take me on, and to make a serious investment in the idea that culture plays a critical role in shaping our politics and our collective character.
Being here has meant a lot of things to me. It’s a chance to write about the things I love full-time, and thanks to the wisdom of my editors here and to the standards you all hold me to, I’ve learned a tremendous amount. It means I get to take a seat on stages and argue that superheroes are the key to the American idea, ask Chris Dodd if he thinks piracy is a customer service problem, and talk about what the 99 Percent movement can learn from 2 Broke Girls. It’s given me a chance to call out the shame of Joe Paterno and the cowardice of Lowe’s and Kayak. And it’s let me talk, at great length, about banking, governance, and A Song of Ice and Fire.
A lot of what makes it possible for me to do the kind of criticism I do is the fact that I’m at a non-profit. But it’s not easy, or cheap, to create something like ThinkProgress. If you’ve enjoyed my writing, or if you’ve benefited from anything ThinkProgress does throughout the year, please consider supporting our work by making a donation. We’re headed into an election year where many of my colleagues will be hitting the road to cover a critically important presidential campaign, and during which I’ll also be expanding my reporting outside of Washington, D.C. to bring you more news, interviews, and early looks at what’s next in movies, television, video games, books, museums and theater. $5 gets us almost two gallons of gas in Iowa, and goes far towards Hollywood economics textbooks.
And as a special incentive, if you donate $25 or more, I’ll send you a ThinkProgress bottle-opener keychain and a personalized thank-you note. As always, thank you so much for your brilliant comments and emails, and your readership — and friendship — throughout the year.
Today, the Center for American Progress Action Fund (CAPAF) — the home of ThinkProgress and the advocacy arm of the Center for American Progress (CAP) — announced some new leadership changes. Former Virginia Democratic Congressman Tom Perriello will be the president of CAPAF, and Tara McGuinness will be the head of our communications operations.
Perriello was a principled champion for progressive causes during his time in the House. Explaining his support for the Affordable Care Act, Perriello said, “My ultimate goal is not to get reelected. It’s to know that I did the best damn job I could representing the people of the 5th District and making a difference.” He ran a tough uphill campaign in 2010, arguing, “The choice in this election fundamentally is whether you’re with the people or want to protect the powerful, and the Republicans have shown they want to protect the powerful.” He ultimately lost, but stated, “It’s more important to do what’s right than what’s easy.” We’re proud to have Tom as part of our team.
As for Tara, she’s been a critical ally in helping me grow ThinkProgress’ staff, resources, and impact. With her continuing support, you can expect us to keep up the progressive fight and find new ways of being effective.
We don’t ask often, but we need your financial help. If you appreciate the work that our talented ThinkProgress team does on a daily basis, please consider making a small donation. You can bet that we’ll use the money wisely.
We’re in the process of budgeting our plans for 2012, so any support you can provide would allow us to go bigger. We’ve almost met our $25,000 goal, and even a $5 contribution can help put us over the top.
We’d like to continue making a big impact with our content. This past year, ThinkProgress broke some major political stories. If you need a reminder, just check out this video:
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Thanks for reading ThinkProgress, and thanks for any support you can provide. Happy holidays!
– When others in the media were dismissing Occupy Wall Street as a fringe effort with no staying power, we created a dedicated blog to comprehensively cover the 99 Percent Movement.
– Before anyone had heard of Herman Cain, we were on the ground asking him tough questions about whether he’d be comfortable with a Muslim in his cabinet. And we followed it up with a sustained campaign to expose and confront Islamophobia.
– When Mitt Romney unveiled his 59 point economic plan, we just didn’t cover the politics. We crunched the numbers and exposed it as a $6.6 trillion giveaway to the wealthy and corporations.
2012 is a critical year and we need to do more. We need to travel to more places, ask more questions and debunk more lies. But to do this, we need to raise $25,000 in the next 5 days to bolster our efforts next year.
This past week, ThinkProgress said goodbye to two wonderful teammates who had provided our readers with interesting and insightful content for many years — Matt Yglesias and Lee Fang.
Matt Yglesias joined ThinkProgress in August 2008. He was already a well-accomplished blogger before he arrived, but over his tenure here, his influence only grew further. Because he has so many eclectic interests, Matt offered keen insights on everything from John McCain’s houses to the Miami Heat to urban infrastructure. Among his numerous accomplishments, Yglesias should be credited for having focused national attention on the obscure and not-well-understood role that the Federal Reserve plays in our economy. He frequently called for greater accountability of the Fed and implored progressives to focus more attention on monetary issues. He will now take that cause and his wealth of knowledge on the issue to Slate, where he will have both a regular column on economics and a blog focused on the same issue.
Lee Fang was a former intern for ThinkProgress. After working as a researcher at Progressive Accountability in 2008, he re-joined ThinkProgress in February 2009. Over his tenure here, Fang broke one big story after another — among them, the role of the Kochs in influencing the political debate, the Chamber of Commerce’s acceptance of foreign funds, Darrell Issa’s questionable earmarks, Newt Gingrich’s extensive lobbying efforts, and a thorough documentation of stimulus hypocrites. Armed with a flip cam, Lee had a number of entertaining run-ins with powerful officials such as Roy Blunt and Mitt Romney. At the beginning of next year, Lee will join UnitedRepublic, a new progressive advocacy outfit that will fight the corrupting influence of corporate money in politics.
We wish Matt and Lee continued success in their next chapters. We’ll be rooting for them and promoting their work here on ThinkProgress.
As for us, we’re working on plans to find new talent to deliver the news and information that you’ve come to rely on. If you’re interested in working in DC with us, send along a resume. As always, thanks for reading ThinkProgress.