Thursday, 5 January 2017

Author Defends Book From Anti-Trans Criticism and Hate



A new book, 'Can I Tell You About Gender Diversity?', has received criticism from politicians and right wing newspapers such as the Daily Mail.

The book, which has already been introduced to some primary schools as a learning resource to students, parents and teachers, follows the character of Kit, who was assigned female at birth but wishes to transition and live as male.

'My name is Kit and I'm 12 years old.  I live in a house with my mum and dad, and our dog, Pickle.  When I was born, the doctors told my mum and dad that they had a baby girl, and for the first few years of my life that's how my parents raised me.  This is called being assigned female at birth.  I was never happy that way.'

Despite not being fully published and available to the general public yet, the book has received huge amounts of criticism from anti-trans opponents.  Former Chairman of the Conservative Party, Lord Tebbit, has said that the book is 'damaging to children to introduce uncertainty in their minds'.

Right wing newspaper The Daily Mail has also attacked the book as journalist Sarah Vine claims the 'target audience is children not even old enough to choose their A-Level subjects, let alone challenge their own biology.'  Vine also went on to say, 'In attempting to improve the lives of a vanishingly small minority, we are threatening the sanity of - and yes I'm going to say it - normal children.  It's time to put an end to this nonsense.'

Former Conservative Home Office Minister Ann Widdecombe has also called the book 'nonsense'.  'You can't expect children to say that's not a boy when it obviously is.  At the age of seven, you know if someone is a boy or if they are a girl.  It's normal.  It's like they're trying to do away with one of the basic pieces of childhood understanding.  All I can say is that it's dotty to think it as made up but for the fact that it's paid for by the taxpayer.'

'This is political correctness gone mad'.  Ukip West Midlands MEP Jill Seymour claimed.  'We should let our children be children.  The government and schools should not be wasting tax payers money on this.'

The books author, LGBT+ activist CJ Atkinson, has spoken out regarding the level of hate the book has received, and the misleading media coverage.

'We call it trans-panic,' they said,  speaking to The Guardian.  'This mud slinging needs to stop.  It causes active harm.  When you have a group of transgender young people, one in two will consider suicide, one in three will attempt it.'

Many of the media articles on the book have claimed that Atkinson has called for schools to stop calling pupils boys and girls, something that they have vehemently denied.  'I would not go to a seven-year-old and say 'you can't call yourself anything'.  That's not what I've written.

'If you identify as a girl, assigned female at birth, and you like the colour pink, you like wearing dresses and sparkly things, that's awesome.  But if you're a boy who likes pink sparkly things that's also awesome.

'It's not a case of saying, let's break everything down until there's nothing, there's no meaning to anything.  It's a case of opening up so everybody can have access to everything.

'Writing the book, I had joked about the fact that I knew there would be some people who would not read it but still have a lot to say about it.  I'm not naive.  Lord Tebbit said it's the worst thing on earth - he's opposed to the idea of the book.  Ann Widdecombe said it was dotty.  In this particular case, quite literally, they don't know what they're talking about.  They have not read the book.'

You can read the full interview with CJ Atkinson here:  www.theguardian.com


Amy.
xx


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Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Star Wars Rebels Season 3 Part 2 Trailer Reveals Movie Connections



The trailer for the second half of the third season of Star Wars Rebels has arrived, and it looks like the show is set to continue to deliver some great universe building and connections to the existing franchise.

The show has already featured heavy connections to The Clone Wars with the inclusion of Ahsoka Tano, Captain Rex and Darth Maul to name but a few characters, and appearances from original trilogy stalwarts such as R2-D2, C3-PO, Darth Vader and Princess Leia.  It's also been connected to the latest film release Rogue One in blink and you'll miss them cameos from Hera, Chopper and even the Ghost itself.

More connections appear to be on their way going into the final half of the season as the latest trailer reveals appearances from Rebellion leaders Senator Organa, General Dondonna and Mon Mothma.  These three feature heavily in Rogue One, with Dondonna and Mothma also playing large leadership roles on A New Hope and Return of the Jedi respectively, as such it's no surprise to see them featuring as the series further explores the formation of the rebellion as the larger group we know in the feature films.


One of the extra benefits of having these characters in the later half of the season is not just that it shows more of the rebellion, bringing it more in line with that of the original trilogy, but with the inclusion of Saw Gerrera we may also get to see the 'disagreement' between him and the rebellion that was hinted at in Rogue One.


Speaking of Saw Gerrera, not only is the Clone Wars/Rogue One character due to make an appearance in the opening two-part story 'Ghosts of Geonosis', but will also be voiced by Forest Whitaker.

Sticking with the Rogue One connections, it would appear that Grand Admiral Thrawn is going to be getting his hands dirty in the second half of the season, with an all out assault on the rebellion with the aim of destroying everyone involved.  Joining him to provide body-guard duties are the Death Troopers.


Having previously been seen in the latest film installment acting as an elite squad under the command of Death Star creator Director Krennic, the black clad troopers will continue their role as guards for high ranking Imperial Navy officers.

Perhaps most exciting in the trailer, however, is the reveal of the anticipated, possibly final, confrontation between Darth Maul and Obi-Wan Kenobi on Tattooine.   Since featured in the very first episode of the show fans have been hoping for the return of the Jedi General, and with Maul back in the galaxy and in possession of the knowledge of his location this became a certainty.


The final scenes of the trailer begin feature an old 'Ben' Kenobi sitting by a fire and the figure of Maul approaches, with a voice eerily similar to Alec Guinness telling him 'you're in the wrong place'.  Maul ignites his sabre and Obi-Wan takes his classic fighting stance.


Not only are fans getting to see these long time adversaries facing each other for the first time since the Clone Wars, some 15 years for the two of them, but it raises some hugely exciting questions for the Star Wars universe.  If Kanan and Ezra follow Maul to Tattooine, which they likely will, how will this affect the original trilogy?  Will Obi-Wan meet the two Jedi?  Will he leave Tattooine for a short time and take a larger role in the war against the Empire?

However this moment will play out, it's sure to be one of the most exciting and far reaching moments of the series, easily on par with the season two finale that saw Ahsoka and Darth Vader finally face each other in battle.

Star Wars Rebels is set to return on 7 January.



Amy.
xx


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Mass Effect Andromeda Release Date Announced



After months of waiting and speculation the release date for Mass Effect Andromeda, the latest installment of the hugely popular video game series, has finally been announced, with release set for 21 March in North America and 23 March in Europe.

The news was tweeted on the game's official Twitter page, and announced in a blog post by BioWare vice president Aaryn Flynn.


Flynn also goes on to talk about the game's use of the new Frostbite engine to deliver a 'tremendous graphical jump' in comparison to the series previous installment.

Mass Effect Andromeda is due for release on Xbox One, Playstation 4 and PC.


Amy.
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Chinese Transgender Man Wins First Ever Dismissal Case



A transgender man in China, identified only as Chen, has won a landmark discrimination legal case against his former employers, in what has been described as the first such case in Chinese history.

The court ruled that Chen was illegally fired from his job at a medical centre in south-west China after having been employed for only a week.

Despite being found guilty of illegal dismissal, the company was not ordered to apologise to Chen by the judge, who has claimed that there is not enough evidence to say that he was dismissed due to his gender identity.  Chen was awarded 2,000 yuan (£234), which equates to a months wage.

Chen has spoken out regarding the outcome of the case, saying 'I have always said that this case was never about the money.  This lawsuit was about three things, dignity, raising awareness of transgender  and other sexual minorities, and pushing for anti-discrimination legislation.'

Chen has said that he was 'quite happy' with the ruling; 'It is the first case in China where a sexual minority wins, it's also good news for the community.'

Although he has a positive attitude regarding the outcome, Chen has said that he will continue legal challenges against his former employer to force for an official apology.

Sadly, Chen has said that this is not the first case of discrimination that he has had to face in his life.  Despite having caring and accepting parents, he claims that he was often bullied at school by both classmates and teaching staff due to his gender identity.

'I was bullied by classmates and teachers would just ignore my existence.  When I first started looking for work I often felt discrimination and was never promoted.'

China remains a deeply conservative country in regards to both gender identity and sexual orientation, with homosexuality only being decrimilised in 1997, and being anything other than straight being classed as a mental illness until 2001.  In 2016 authorities within China banned all depictions of LGBT+ people on Chinese television, as part of a cultural clampdown aimed at 'vulgar, immoral and unhealthy content'.


Amy.
xx


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