Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Facebook Security

From the Huffington Post :
WASHINGTON -- House Republicans blocked a measure Tuesday night that would have let the Federal Communications Commission prevent employers from forcing workers to reveal their Facebook passwords.


One problem if they do attempt to do this: they're likely breaking existing Federal Law, and certainly violating the Facebook Terms of Service.

From those Facebook Terms of Service:
3. Safety
3.5 You will not solicit login information or access an account belonging to someone else.

4. Registration and Account Security
4.8 You will not share your password, (or in the case of developers, your secret key), let anyone else access your account, or do anything else that might jeopardize the security of your account.
4.9 You will not transfer your account (including any page or application you administer) to anyone without first getting our written permission.
From MSNBC:
Frederic Wolens, a Facebook spokesman, wouldn't comment on the Maryland legislative proposals, but he said many of these school and employer policies appear to violate the site's terms.

"Under our terms, only the holder of the email address and password is considered the Facebook account owner. We also prohibit anyone from soliciting the login information or accessing an account belonging to someone else," he said in a statement to msnbc.com.
Employees should tell employers that they are not permitted by FB TOS to comply, and that to even ask is a violation of the TOS which will be reported to FB. Continued use of FB by an employer after making such a request, whether reported or not, may leave the employer open to civil and criminal penalties for unauthorised access of a protected computer, should there be any interstate or foreign communication on their page. Advise them to take legal advice on this.

It is permissible for an employer to ask that the account be handed over to them; but this requires written permission by FB.

http://www.facebook.com/legal/terms
Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (18 U.S.C. § 1030 et seq.)

The CFAA defines a “protected computer” under 18 U.S.C. § 1030(e)(2) to mean a computer:
...
which is used in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce or communication, including a computer located outside the United States that is used in a manner that affects interstate or foreign commerce or communication of the United States;

Criminal offenses under the Act
...
Intentionally accessing a computer without authorization to obtain:
Information from any protected computer if the conduct involves an interstate or foreign communication

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Paging Dr Mengele

I'm working on getting a good idiomatic English translation of Streit um elfjährige Transsexuelle: Alex soll in die Psychiatrie - taz.de

But in summary.....

A Nurse decides (probably on religious grounds) that Transsexuality is due to parental upbringing, so the eleven year old child will be confined to a locked ward in a mental hospital - then, in the unlikely event she can pretend to be "cured", placed in a foster home, so her supportive mother will never see her again.

And the court agrees. No expert medical opinion is needed. The appeal has been rejected.

Moral of story: don't support your Trans child, or they'll be taken from you, given "reparative therapy", and you'll never see them again. If they live.

I think it unlikely they'll ever release her. Apparently the last girl given this treatment suicided as soon as she was given the opportunity.

I can understand why, if that was the only means of escape. European Catholic psychiatric establishments when aided and abetted by sympathetic courts have something of a reputation.

An appeal to a Federal court is underway... but apparently until then, she'll be given "masculinising" treatment to coerce her into accepting others' Reality, one completely contrary to medical opinion. Her mind will be damaged, not merely hurt.

It's not that the doctors at the clinic are evil. Merely grossly incompetent, ignorant, opinionated, and experimenting on children. They don't see themselves as heirs to another grossly incompetent, ignorant, opinionated medical experimenter, one Dr Mengele, but that's what they are.

UPDATE: While I was working on an idiomatic translation, this one became available. It's pretty good. From Scallywag & Vagabond
The case of an eleven year old child who goes by the alias Alex Kaminsky has once again stirred debate as to Germany’s stance towards gender neutrality, sex and clinical devices of purity, especially in light of its torrid history with respect to forced sterilization and aspirations towards racial purity.

At the heart of the matter can a young girl and her mother decide what is best for her daughter who biologically was not born a girl but wishes to pursue a female gender or are they obligated to subscribe to the courts view which at present allows open the possibility of the child being institutionalized whom according to human rights group now fear the child will be exposed to a type of redressing with the expressed intent of correcting what is implicitly perceived to be mental deficiencies of a the child.

The commotion came about as Berlin’s Kammergericht this past Thursday re affirmed a lower court’s decision allowing the state to institutionalize an eleven year old. At the time of the ruling, the child’s mother who had sought therapy for her child but to date has been inexplicably denied reiterated that she will now take her case to the constitutional court in an effort to allow her eleven year old to remain living as a female despite being born a male, something the mother supports.

The incident initially found itself in front of the courts as a consequence of the girl’s parents separating and being of different opinions as to how the medical treatment of the child should proceed, with state youth office mandating that the child should be treated in an institution before eventually being made available to a foster family.

Implicit in the court’s decision is the very real possibility that the child may now be preempted from pursuing her desire to live as a female, and exposed to a type of indoctrination that does not promote gender neutrality or choice. Also of concern is whether the child is too young to completely understand the ramifications of her choices and the technical legality that German law requires before one can have a sex change or at least begin the process of hormone adaptation to become one’s innate sense of gender.

To date the youth office has asserted that it believes the best interest of the ‘child ‘ would be achieved if it were removed from a sphere of influence that is predisposed to the girl asserting a female identity . This of course raises the question can a child’s ‘transsexuality’ be induced without the child resisting?

To date no reported incidents exist where a child was forced to accept a gender re alignment against their will, which has stirred the plaintiff’s lawyer to argue that a nurse which the youth office assigned has on the back of one single solitary hour long meeting been able to insist that the mother has sought to unduly influence the child in their choice of gender. The plaintiff’s lawyer has also expressed shock and reticence that to date their client, the mother and daughter have been denied the right to an expert report or therapy, something that the youth office is unwilling to yield to.

Come this Monday at 3pm, human right activists will protest on behalf of the child. Argue the group who go by the banner attache ‘Stop Alex forced into institutionalization at once’: “Institutions like the youth office and the Charit√© use force on humans through enforcement and psychological pressure! Each gender and each gender identity is a right, not a disease.”

Activists are particularly disturbed with the state’s view that the child might be mentally diseased and thus seeking to institutionalize it to ‘correct’ what it perceives to be mental deficiencies which would run counter with the notion that gender isn’t necessarily what one is born with but what one innately relates to and chooses.

Already a signature campaign as organized by British transsexual activist Katrina Swales is under way to challenge the court’s decision. Asserts Katrina Swales who to date has amassed over 9000 signatures: “This young girl gets taught that her feelings are wrong. She gets pushed into self denial more and more. Something that has already cost the lives of so many transsexuals.”

In light of the court’s current stance a deep mistrust amongst human activists has been instilled who fear clinical assessments may be adopting sterile dispositions towards gender choices and other aspects of human rights manifestations especially in light of a nation known to have had a torrid history with respect to gender rights, discrimination and what has to date been publicly left unsaid, previous ethnic purity aspirations.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Seems Plausible

Sex and Gender Evaluation TEST RESULTS

S.A.G.E. Test Results

Your Raw Score is: 660, which indicates that overall you are Feminine

Your appearance is Feminine

Your brain processes are mostly that of a Female person.

You appear to socialize in a feminine manner.

You believe you have major conflicts about your gender identity.

You indicated you are physically Intersexed to some degree.

ANALYSIS:

Since you indicated you were born with an Intersex condition, it is likely that this has caused you some degree of gender conflict because society in general is not accepting or understanding of gender ambiguity. Since it is difficult to live in a purely androgynous gender role, please check the most appropriate analysis below.

NOTES:

Your answers indicate you have altered your physical appearance to look like the opposite sex.
Your Answers indicate your psychological state has likely prevailed since you were quite young.

ANALYSIS AS Male:

Male to Female Transsexual, either post-operative or in transition

NOTES:

Your answers indicate you have altered your physical appearance to look like the opposite sex.
Your Answers indicate your psychological state has likely prevailed since you were quite young.

ANALYSIS AS Female:

No conflicts, you appear to fully accept your physical sex and gender identity.

NOTES:

Your answers indicate you have altered your physical appearance to look like the opposite sex.
Your Answers indicate your psychological state has likely prevailed since you were quite young.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

AC360 - The 'Sissy Boy' Experiment





There's rather more on George Rekers in various posts on this blog over the last few years.

His attitude towards inconvenient facts is summarised below, from The Christian World View of Psychology and Counseling:
6. Scientific Method

We affirm that the scientific method is useful in carrying out the creation mandate of Genesis 1:28 to subdue and have dominion over creation when the investigators have Biblical presuppositions and when the Bible does not directly give us the answers we seek; that the use of the scientific method is entirely controlled by the presuppositions of the investigators and therefore the results are a pronouncement of faith rather than of scientific fact; and that the faith nature of the results of scientific investigation is evidenced by the investigators' proselytizing intent, that is, their attempt to transform man into their idea of what man should be. We deny that the scientific method can ever be applied in psychology without its being thoroughly determined by the presuppositions of the investigators.
And this is the resulr.

Similar, though far less harsh, methods are used by Dr Zucker in CAMH in Toronto. Her realises that he can;t "pray away the Gay", but he does claim he can "pray away the Trans", with only 15% of gender nonconformant kids ending up being Trans not Gay. "Gender Nonconformant" means exactly that, in most the degree is mild. They're not Trans in the first place.

As for George Rekers? From his website:
He earned his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles, his M.B.A. in executive management from Southern Wesleyan University, and his Doctor of Theology (Th.D.) degree from the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies of the University of South Africa.

Dr. Rekers has delivered many invited research presentations on child and family variables before committees of the United States Senate and House of Representatives, and has served as an invited expert for White House staff and several presidential cabinet agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services.

He has delivered over two hundred invited lectures in universities and academic societies in dozens of countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and in Western and Eastern Europe.

Professor George served as one of the multidisciplinary experts for the legal team that successfully defended the state of Florida’s law prohibiting adoption of children by homosexually-behaving individuals all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, in the case Lofton v. Secretary of the Department of Children and Family Services.

Dr. Rekers is a past recipient of the NARTH Sigmund Freud Award for his research contributions on child gender identity disorder.


His work is still being cited as bona fide by Vanguard University's Psychology Department in their Parenting section. It is, after all, a Christian University.

HOW many sexes?

A comment on Billions of Sexes (Part 1) by Martine Rothblatt, on the Institute for Ethics & Emerging Technologies site

I differ from the author only on emphasis, and degree. However, these differences have important effects.

Let's start with the idea that there are male and female brains. They differ anatomically, and these differences correspond to different stereotyped behaviours, regardless of upbringing. This is most obvious in girls who have CAH, masculinised brains, and a male preference in play patterns, even though they have a normal female upbringing.

Now that we've established that idea, that it's objectively observable.. we have to tear it down. It's just the first step in Wittgenstein's ladder.

The brain is a complex structure, not a simple one. Any particular individual can have a more masculine anatomy in one area, a more feminine anatomy in others. The sexually dimorphic features have considerable overlap. Within any one area, few are unambiguously male or unambiguously female. The difference is statistical. Moreover, in the higher brain, hormonal balance plays a role in changing the brain's physical anatomy. Treat a male with female hormones, some of his brain structures will feminise. The brain is plastic in many areas, experiences and social environment causes physical changes, and much of what we call "gendered behaviour" is as the result of arbitrary socially constructed factors.

OK, understood that? Now discard it, it's the second step on the ladder.

The brain is not homogenous; different parts have different effects, and while some parts are plastic, others are not. While much "gendered behaviour" is a social construct, some is not, and is remarkably resistant to change. This is most obvious in Transsexual people, whose neuro-anatomy is female in some areas, male in others, and corresponds to neither in yet others. When the Lymbic nucleus is feminised, typically feminine emotional patterns are found, and these lead to a feminine gender identity. When the Superior Parietal Lobule (SPL) is feminised as well - as it often is - the "body map" is for female primary and secondary sex characteristics - breasts, vagina etc - and any mismatch with reality causes immense distress.

This also explains such observed phenomena as "phantom limb syndrome", and the widely variable emotional response to hysterectomy or mastectomy. Also too the variable response to any natural masculinisation of a female-at-birth body due to 5ARD or 17BHSD syndromes, which can cause a superficial "natural sex change".

What this means is that a binary model of sex and gender is merely a rough approximation. A better one is a trinary one, with male, female, and bigendered (approximately 1/3 in each category). But that still doesn't capture the multi-variance and fuzziness of the situation adequately. A small percentage won't fit either model, or indeed, any such gross over-simplification.

References (to substantiate my assertions):

Sexual differentiation of the human brain: relevance for gender identity, transsexualism and sexual orientation. Swaab Gynecol Endocrinol (2004) 19:301–312.

White matter microstructure in female to male transsexuals before cross-sex hormonal treatment. A diffusion tensor imaging study. - Rametti et al, J Psychiatr Res. 2010 Jun 8.

Prenatal hormones versus postnatal socialization by parents as determinants of male-typical toy play in girls with congenital adrenal hyperplasia” Pasterski VL, Geffner ME, Brain C, Hindmarsh P, Brook C, Hines M Child Dev 76(1):264-78 2005

Changing your sex changes your brain: influences of testosterone and estrogen on adult human brain structure by Pol et al, Europ Jnl Endocrinology, Vol 155, suppl_1, S107-S114 2006

Biased-Interaction Theory of Psychosexual Development: “How Does One Know if One is Male or Female?” M.Diamond Sex Roles (2006) 55:589–600

Gender change in 46,XY persons with 5alpha-reductase-2 deficiency and 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase-3 deficiency. Cohen-Kettenis PT. Arch Sex Behav. 2005 Aug;34(4):399-410.


I'm including this as a post because it summarises and encapsulates my conclusions so far. It's a bit more complex than this, but the 3 steps on Wittgenstein's ladder are enough.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Send Money. Send Lots of Money

From Christian Newswire:
"Christians are called to unite the GOP with Rick Santorum. This is because the Bible says that Mitt Romney opposes Jesus Christ and Christians. Romney is against everything the USA was founded upon," says pastor Steven Andrew, president of USA Christian Ministries.

"God promises to fix the economy if we vote for mature Christians (Exodus 18:21)," he adds. "God says that the economy declined for taking God out of government, 53-plus million abortions and homosexual sins," explains the pastor, who is also author of "Making A Strong Christian Nation."

"Christians understand God controls the economy because He says so in 2Chronicles 7:13-14. Do you believe God? He sends prosperity for obedience and famine for sins (Deuteronomy 28, Nehemiah 9:32-38, Leviticus 26)," he adds.

"God says Mormons are accursed. We don't want someone accursed in the White House," he adds. Galatians 1:9 says, "…if anyone preaches any other gospel…let him be accursed."
...
"God's issues or 'social issues' are the most important election issues because God rewards nations who obey Him", the author explains in "Making A Strong Christian Nation".

USA Christian Ministries is raising money to build a network of 1000 pastors to pastor the USA and a national TV program. To support this important outreach, see: www.usachristianministries.com/partner



But of course these are just a vocal minority, they couldn't possibly have significant influence in politics...



Yeah, Right.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Dear 15 year old me...

From Dear 15 year old me - how you can help.

If you are a LGBT adult, write a letter to yourself, but write it to the person you were when you were 15 years old. If you could go back to the kid you were then, what would you say? What advice would you give for surviving this time?

Dear 15 year old me

I can do nothing for you, the 15 yr old girl that I was, silently sobbing in your bedroom. Back when you are, in 1973, I know your parents wouldn't understand. I know from here in 2012 (though you don't, and perhaps that's for the best) that if you let your secret out, the standard treatment in your time is electroshock therapy, sometimes even lobotomy, cutting out pieces of your brain, so best keep quiet.

I can do nothing for you. But I can do something for all the girls like you that exist in my time. Knowing me, knowing you, the girl I was, I think that will make you smile amidst your tears. It's how I sooth the hurt that you're feeling, easing the path of others.

And you know what? It will take a long time I'm afraid, but you'll live happily ever after too, as they will. We have a better understanding now. We have something called the Internet, linking all the computers in the world - and every home has at least one now - to share information. The surgery is far better, the knowledge of hormones more extensive. We can't give girls like you the ability to have babies, not yet, but that's coming too. Too late for you - for us - but perhaps not too late for them.

It's no easier for other girls at 15 than it is for you, back in 1973, stuck with a male body that feels so terribly, fundamentally WRONG. But there is hope for them, as there doesn't appear to be for you, when you are. Well, after living for so many years, hoping even when there is no hope, you get to win anyway, to be yourself. You will learn what the word "happiness" means. It will be better than you can imagine, better than your wildest dreams. Against all the odds, you get to live happily ever after.

You have many years of hell in front of you. Far too many. But you get out anyway.

Today, in 2012, girls like you don't have to endure nearly so long. If they can endure, just for another thousand days, there will be help available for them. No child should have to endure what you are destined to endure, but you get through it. No child should have to endure even 1000 days of it, nor 1000 seconds for that matter. They do have to though, at the moment. It's changing, getting better, and I think in my - in our - lifetime, we'll see an end to it. The issue will be recognised earlier, and social acceptance of the obvious treatment will become unremarkable. That day is not here yet, which is why we, you and I, have to help them.

You and I just have to show the girls of 2012 who are your age, that there is hope. That it does get better, and by the time they're 25, their lives will be not much different from other girls their age. That's not some impossible dream, not just a possibility, it's an inevitability, if they just hang on. Meanwhile, they must lay the foundations of their future life, do well at school, be ready to make a fantastic success of life, and not fall into the traps of drug abuse or throwing away a life that at the moment seems worthless. We must show them that they must plan ahead, for the better times to come for them.

They may end up marrying boys, and having a family together. Or marrying girls for that matter - we've come a long way in understanding sexuality since 1973, and same-sex partnerships, while unusual, aren't regarded as unthinkable as they are when you are.

Dear 15 year old me, feeling so isolated and alone, back in 1973 you don't know that there are many like you. Boys and girls, born with the wrong-sexed bodies. Yes, there are boys too, born with female anatomy, and it's just as horrid for them as it is for girls born with male anatomy. Now in 2012, we do know though, and are doing something about it. There's still plenty of bullying (and worse than bullying) in schools, and not just from other kids. That's getting better though too. The trouble is, that's little consolation for all the 15 year old boys and girls subject to it today in 2012, so we have to show them that others have made it, and they can too. That it gets better, and not in ten or twenty years, but in just a few. That they should be busy preparing for that day.

I hope I've made you smile, dear 15 year old me. You get to be quite a woman, you know? You use the pain you're feeling now as an energy, to help others just like you, transmuting it into compassion. Writing letters like this one.

Love, and Hugs,
Zoe

p.s. I know you picked the name "Zoe" five years ago, and that you've never told anyone else. You won't for some time, but it fits you. If you recall your Ancient Greek, it means "Life".

Friday, 2 March 2012

They don't make it easy

Testosterone ampules, vital for Trans mens' health (if only to stop their bones getting brittle) has been quietly de-listed from the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), resulting in a quadrupling in price, and ten times the price for those on low incomes with a Health Care card, entitling them to reduced costs on PBS medications.

Apparently it may be because Transsexuality isn't considered to exist as far as the Dept of Health is concerned (there are no drugs on the PBS for treating it), and for non-Trans and non-Intersex men, other alternatives are available. Intersex they're clueless about, and they apparently don't realise what a catastrophic effect this will have on Trans and Intersex mens' health.

This is suspiciously coincidental with the UK National Health Service (NHS) recently putting Testosterone on the "Red List" - meaning it can no longer be prescribed for Trans men (only non-Trans and non-Intersex) by GPs. They have to now obtain the scripts from specialised Gender Clinics - who have no budget for them, so can't provide them. Testosterone has thus been effectively de-listed in the UK too. This follows on from the UK NHS delisting of estrogen implants, which led to the last commercial manufacturer left in the world ceasing to make them last year. That too was based on substitutes being available for everyone except Trans and Intersex women.