Articles for the Month of May 2013

Gender Identity & Our Children

Gender and Our Children
Many children reside on the traditional side of gender identity. Others experiment with both expected “girl” and “boy” activities. However, what would your response be if your child expressed a passionate interest in participating in opposite-gender activities; living as the opposite gender, or practicing a more “fluid “mix of both ? Would you allow your child to live with a less defined gender in public places-such as school, trips to the mall or at supermarket?In modern parenting, these questions are growing more poignant as kids are discovering their voices & testing traditional boundaries at an earlier age. Now our kids have the support and guidance of a greater number of medical experts, as these experts no longer believe gender is fixed. Additionally, The American Psychiatric Association (APA)  has recently  taken “gender identity disorder” from the list of mental health ailments.Today, the gender spectrum includes those who are transgender, who see themselves as the opposite gender, and those who are gender variant, or gender nonconforming, whose gender is more “fluid.” For kids, it means they identify part of themselves as boy and part as girl.The evolution of gender topics and how the public views them may progress to the point where we now see homosexuality.  Decades ago, after much controversy, the APA removed homosexuality from the list of mental ailments. Maybe tomorrow promises greater acceptance, not just tolerance, for everyone rather than for only those who practice within expected form & traditions roles.

Rape in the Military

Rape Culture of the American Military


Last year there were over 3,300  rapes in the military, a 6 percent increase, and an estimated 26,000 sexual assaults. How and why are rapes in the US Military increasing? Some might say it’s due to system that is based on institutionalized sexism. Recently, the Pentagon announced that the very Air Force officer that was in charge of sexual assault prevention was himself charged with sexual assault.

When asked about the increase in rapes, President Obama said the U.S. needs to be “exponentially stepping up our game to go at this hard.”

It’s known that rapes are grossly underreported in the Department of Defense.  Statistically speaking, there are about 1.12 rapes per 1,000 employees, while the Justice Department says there are about two rapes or sexual assaults per 1,000 American women and 88 percent of rape victims are between the ages of 12 and 28 years old. So what happens when a female soldier reports that she has been raped or assaulted? All to often, these girls are bullied or shamed into silence by their commanding officers, while being convinced that she must accept this as a reality of military life for women.

Thousands of rapes in the military go unreported or simply ignored each year and one of the contributing factors is that women must report rape to their commanders who then have the authority to decide whether or not to bring the rape case to trial. Democratic Senator,Kristen Gillibrand, believes women in the military shouldn’t be at the mercy of their commanding officers as “no where else in America do women have to report sexual assault to their bosses.” Thus, Sen. Gillibrand has recently introduced a proposal that would let military prosecutors – rather than women’s bosses – decide whether to bring rape cases to trial.

This has become such a hot button issue that television, film and even web television series have been addressing the topic. In 2012 Ilene Chaiken and Jennifer Beals partners to produce their web series Lauren.  Lauren stars Troian Bellisario and Jennifer Beals as Sergeant Lauren Weil and Major Jo Stone. Lauren’s decision to report being gang raped by several male soldiers grows more complicated as she moves up the chain of command to Major Stone.  Imitating life, Lauren does not receive empathy from her commanding female officer; but rather, she is met by the cold veneer of Major Stone suggesting that only women who think they’re “special” expect to escape a career in the military without being sexually harassed. But soon its apparent that both women are victims of a system that is almost constructed on the foundation of false masculinity and institutionalized sexism. Each character thinks she is doing what is best in the midst of an impossible situation-while still managing to serve her country with honor.

To the same point, we as citizens are also responsible for demanding more from our political leaders, legislators and the men in our lives. We must recognize that the abuse of women is not just festering, it is spreading like a cancer. We must support women in giving them the resources they need and the protection they deserve.

For more information on how you can stand behind Sen. Gillibrand’s proposal to tackle sexual assault in the military visit:

Ruff Ryders’ First Lady dropped her first album in 11 years.

Eve’s new album, Lip Lock, released May 14, 1013
Eve Photo
Philly’s girl has officially release her fourth album, Lip Lock.  Ruff Ryders’ First Lady, Eve, dropped her first album in 11 years on May 14.
She recruits Missy Elliott, Snoop Lion, Juicy J and Pusha T for her fourth solo LP, Lip Lock. The LP also included guest features Chrisette Michele, and production by Claude Kelly, Swizz Beatz.
Eve said, “Lip Lock is the album I’ve always wanted to make and it represents me coming back into the game.”
To coincide with the album release, she released the remix for her new single “She Bad Bad” featuring Pusha T and Juicy J earlier this week as well.
The lyrics are classic Eve,simple yet powerful. However, the beats and musical arrangements could only be described as a compilation of music over to decades, rock, hip hop with an R&B smoke. Eve’s fans will most certainly have their thirst quenched after such a long hiatus as Eve’s, Lip Lock does not disappoint.  Philly should be proud.

Philadelphia Mayor Signs Groundbreaking Bill.

Philadelphia is ahead of the civil rights curve. Today, Philadelphia’s Mayor, Michael Nutter, signed a groundbreaking bill making Philadelphia one of the friendliest cities regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered rights. This law is one of the most extensive civil rights protections and benefits for LGBTQ people in the nation.
The new bill strengthens the City’s laws to provide equal treatment of all persons in Philadelphia regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, says Mayor Nutter. This legislation also makes Philadelphia the first in the country to offer tax incentives for businesses that offer LGBT-inclusive healthcare options. Gloria Casarez, Director of LGBT Affairs for he City of Philadelphia, says the bill leads the country on transgender rights, requiring new City construction to create gender neutral bathrooms and trans-inclusive healthcare.
Additionally, today Gloria Casarez,  Director of LGBT Affairs, was honored by Galaei, the Gay Lesbian Latino Aids Education a initiative. After signing thMayor a Nutter presented Casarez  with the David Acosta Revolutionary Leader Award, DARLA for her extensive work advocating for the LGBTQ in the City of Philadelphia. photo-1

Castro in America

Mariela Castro at Equality Forum 2013

May 4, 2013

After a tedious fight, the U.S. State Department relented despite initially denying Mariela Castro permission to attend the Equality Forum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mariela Castro, niece of Fidel Castro, received an award from the advocacy group and spoke Saturday on a panel at the gay rights summit sponsored by the nonprofit Equality Forum. A married mother of three, Castro leads Cuba’s National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX), which is part of the island nation’s public health ministry. She is the country’s leading gay rights advocate. Castro has done everything from training Cuban police on relations with the LGBTQ community to lobbying lawmakers to legalize same-sex unions. She was elected as a deputy in Cuba’s parliament in February.

It is popular political belief that Castro’s family has run a repressive Communist dictatorship for decades. Her father, Raul Castro, is Cuba’s president and the brother of Fidel Castro. Contrary to Fidel Castro’s reputation, he recently issued a public apology for past ostracization of the Cuban LGBTQ community. Mariela Castro believes her family has opened doors for Cuba to evolve as a modern society with equal rights for women, Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual & Transgendered people. She said, ” Yes, there is still homophobia in Cuba but today homophobia is considered to be Objectionable.”


Just a thought…Philly Sidewalk Dining Crackdown

As a result of an increase in complaints about blocked sidewalks, The Philadelphia Streets Department has announced they are cracking down on outdoor seating. Monthly inspections will be conducted to ensure restaurants are adhering to sidewalk dining requirements. Violators without the appropriate permits or seating will receive tickets while having to immediately comply to seating chart regulations. Repeat violators can possibly loose their business licenses. However, given that Spring has finally sprung, Philadelphia patrons will be looking forward to enjoying their cocktails while enjoying the weather. Rittenhouse Square hot spots like Parc and Tria, located along 18th Street, will be packed as many clammer for outdoor seating. Will this new threat issued by The Street Department scare violators straight, anger needed patrons or simply have NO noticeable affect at all?