This week’s hot stuff (9-15-11)

Voto Latino along with the National Council of La Raza are playing an increasing central role in advocating for progressive causes across a spectrum of stakeholders, not just for immigration, but all struggles for economic and social justice including labor rights and equality rights. These are the leaders of America’s new majority and so much the target of the old white men who would have it otherwise. We will soon be hearing from Gloria Nieto who will be writing on the intersection of race, gender, and sexual politics.

In doing research for a story Zain Rivzi is preparing this week, about what it is like to be gay in Iran today, we came across the now resurfaced Iran Human Rights Blog. Zain is asking if you know that the only way two men can be coupled in Iran is if one of them undergoes sexual reassignment surgery? The penalties for homosexuality is imprisonment, torture, and death, which are worse, but the result is an entire class of transexuals who easily fall into poverty and prostitution. Prostitution in Iran is technically legal under government issued “temporary marriage” documents, but in any calculation it’s a mess, and a mess that we need to care about.

The Organization for Refuge Asylum & Migration (Oram) is a fierce and heroic advocate for refugees fleeing sexual and gender violence and provides free legal advice and representation. They are looking for interns and volunteers and you can “adopt a refugee” to see someone through the passage of safety and resettlement.

Doing work on America’s streets to prevent the spread of HIV and protect the lives of prostitutes living at society’s edge, Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive (HIPS) works tirelessly to break the chain of poverty, prostitution, and HIV. We salute them, support them, and urge you to get involved in this life-saving work.

Returning again this year, we’re off to Southern Comfort Conference next week. This most excellent and exuberant gathering draws nearly a thousand gender non-conforming and trans folks and their allies spending a 4-day weekend sharing wisdom and seeking common ground. Check out the days of programming that are punctuated with all sorts of social events; this year, the conference joins the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) International Symposium on September 26. You’ll want to come, or at least put it on your calendar for next year. Scholarships are available. We will be hosting several events there including several scheduled Live Twitter Chats on the subject of Transunity and Transleadership. If there ever was a time to join hands to end transphobia, it certainly has to be now.

The last week in September we are headed to Arse Elektronika (AE) for a something, as they say, completely different. Nonetheless it is related to sexual freedom. AE is an international conference founded in Austria and held each year in Europe and in San Francisco. It is an exposition of the future of sexuality, gender, and technology. As transhumanists we are interested in the individuals and companies on the forefront of this industry’s great potential. because they have a built in interest in the struggle for sexual freedom and may want to become involved in in VenusPlusX’s grant-making programs. Consider that future sex is safe sex and future sex technology will find more of a market as sexual repression ebbs away and disappears.

We are again highlighting DC Trans Coalition, and its recently released preliminary findings in a Needs Assessment that was undertaken last year. Must reading for all those who advocate for the rights of trans people, and other sexual minorities. Around here, we say, “If you advocate for the T (as in Transgender, Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual people, TLGB) you are advocating for everyone. We hope you will take an interest and support the DCTC’s exemplary work.

Planning for January’s Creating Change Conference (January 25-29, 2012, in Baltimore) is underway and looking for volunteers and presenters. The next planning meeting is September 15 at 7:oo PM at the MCC Church conference room (401 W. Monument Street, Baltimore, MD 21201).

Few dig as deep as Michelle Meow at Swirl Radio out of San Francisco, “a fast-paced show . . . from the epicenter of the gay universe.” Check it out.

And, last but not least, a shout out to our favorite news aggregator  for giving the Huffington Post a run for their money, The Raw Story.

If you your site or blog isn’t yet on our general Stuff We Like, or would like to be featured here on our weekly top ten, please let us hear from you.

Alison Gardner

Alison Gardner

Alison Gardner is co-founder of VenusPlusX, and writes frequently on global sexual freedom, American fundamentalists exporting hate and homophobia, and grassroots activism.
Alison Gardner