Periodical Political Post *7

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Shadow Sex – Boy, Girl & Beyond

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In November, 18-year-old Sasha Fleischman was set on fire by a teenager after falling asleep during the bus ride home. The assault resulted in third-degree burns and several surgeries. Sasha’s “crime”? Presenting as a boy while dressing in traditionally feminine clothing.

Born Luke Fleischman, the American teen wore a skirt for the first time to school sophomore year. Soon after, Fleischman started questioning the binary definitions of gender, and has since identified as agender, preferring to use the pronouns “they” and “them.”

Fleischman’s story made national headlines and led to a broader conversation about gender-identity issues. Now the teen, who expressed hope that their 16-year-old attacker would not be prosecuted as an adult, was also featured in a photo project by LA-based photographer Chloe Aftel.

Hoping to raise awareness of this diverse, often-overlooked community, San Francisco magazine published Aftel’s photos in an attempt to shed light on what it means to be a gender-fluid teen in the wake of Fleischman’s attack.

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Comprised mostly of young people, the San Franciscans in the series use umbrella terms like “genderqueer” and “nonbinary,” Rachele Kanigel explained in San Francisco magazine’s story accompanying the photo series. “This growing community encompasses people who see themselves as agender (neither male nor female), bi-gender (both genders) and gender-fluid (shifting from male to female).”

But the agender community shares more than just an affinity for plural pronouns. According to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, the most extensive study of its kind, 78% of gender non-conforming people face harassment at school, 90% suffer mistreatment at work and 53% experience being verbally disrespected in a public place.

“Transgender and gender non-conforming people face injustice at every turn: in childhood homes, in school systems that promise to shelter and educate, in harsh and exclusionary workplaces, at the grocery store, the hotel front desk, in doctors’ offices and emergency rooms, before judges and at the hands of landlords, police officers, health care workers and other service providers,” the report says.

genderqueer-marilyn

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Periodical Political Post *5

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Goodbye, Leelah

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“Please don’t be sad, it’s for the better,” the note reads. “The life I would’ve lived isn’t worth living in… because I’m transgender.”

leelah-alcorn16-year-old Leelah Alcorn died Sunday morning at 2:20 a.m. in a suspected suicide. Police believe she had walked three or four miles from her parent’s house in Kings Mill, Ohio to Interstate 71 where she leaped in front of a truck.

Following her death, a suicide note appeared on Alcorn’s Tumblr blog that suggested that she intended to kill herself. The missive offers a heartbreaking glimpse into the life of a teenager struggling with being accepted by her family and unable to see a hopeful future for herself:

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Periodical Political Post *2

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Ireland votes on Equality

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Ireland has set a month for a referendum on marriage equality. Groups both for and against same-sex marriage will rally as they prepare for the public vote in early May 2015. No specific date has been announced as of yet. The issue was discussed today by Ministers at their final meeting before Christmas. Recent surveys suggest that more than two thirds of the country’s population support marriage equality. The Guardian has more on the topic.

Take me to Church: ‘Gay Propaganda’ goes viral

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Russia’s recently introduced laws against “gay propaganda” sparked controversy all over the world. When Irish singer Hoizer chimed in with his own protest song people listened. A lot. His song Take me to Church was streamed over 80 million times on Spotify, making it the platform’s most successful single of 2014, and was viewed more than 40 million times on YouTube. Update February 2018: The song is closing in on 1 billion plays on Spotify and was viewed over 400 million times on YouTube by now!

Hozier said: “The song was always about humanity at its most natural, and how that is undermined ceaselessly by religious [organisations] and those who would have us believe they act in its interests. What has been seen growing in Russia is no less than nightmarish, I proposed bringing these themes into the story and [director Brendan Canty] liked the idea.”