☆☆☆ "Appropriate & subvert the patriarchal semiotic hegemony of the hetero-normative dyad!" ☆☆☆

Saturday, January 14, 2017

National Academies -- Health Effects of Cannabis & Cannabinoids


The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids:

The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research

News from NASEM
Jan. 12, 2017


Nearly 100 Conclusions on the Health Effects of Marijuana and Cannabis-Derived Products Presented in New Report; One of the Most Comprehensive Studies of Recent Research on Health Effects of Recreational and Therapeutic Use of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products

WASHINGTON – A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine offers a rigorous review of scientific research published since 1999 about what is known about the health impacts of cannabis and cannabis-derived products – such as marijuana and active chemical compounds known as cannabinoids – ranging from their therapeutic effects to their risks for causing certain cancers, diseases, mental health disorders, and injuries.  The committee that carried out the study and wrote the report considered more than 10,000 scientific abstracts to reach its nearly 100 conclusions.  The committee also proposed ways to expand and improve the quality of cannabis research efforts, enhance data collection efforts to support the advancement of research, and address the current barriers to cannabis research.

“For years the landscape of marijuana use has been rapidly shifting as more and more states are legalizing cannabis for the treatment of medical conditions and recreational use,” said Marie McCormick, chair of the committee; the Sumner and Esther Feldberg Professor of Maternal and Child Health, department of social and behavioral sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; and professor of pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, Mass.  “This growing acceptance, accessibility, and use of cannabis and its derivatives have raised important public health concerns.  Moreover, the lack of any aggregated knowledge of cannabis-related health effects has led to uncertainty about what, if any, are the harms or benefits from its use.  We conducted an in-depth and broad review of the most recent research to establish firmly what the science says and to highlight areas that still need further examination.  As laws and policies continue to change, research must also.”

Currently, cannabis is the most popular illicit drug in the United States, in terms of past-month users.  Based on a recent nationwide survey, 22.2 million Americans ages 12 and older reported using cannabis in the past 30 days.  This survey also reports that 90 percent of adult cannabis users in the United States said their primary use was recreational, with about 10 percent reporting use solely for medical purposes.  Around 36 percent reported mixed medical and recreational use.  In addition, between 2002 and 2015, the percentage of past-month cannabis users in the U.S. population ages 12 and older has increased steadily from 6.2 percent to 8.3 percent.

Therapeutic Effects

One of the therapeutic uses of cannabis and cannabinoids is to treat chronic pain in adults.  The committee found evidence to support that patients who were treated with cannabis or cannabinoids were more likely to experience a significant reduction in pain symptoms.  For adults with multiple sclerosis-related muscle spasms, there was substantial evidence that short-term use of certain “oral cannabinoids” – man-made, cannabinoid-based medications that are orally ingested – improved their reported symptoms.  Furthermore, in adults with chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, there was conclusive evidence that certain oral cannabinoids were effective in preventing and treating those ailments.
Injury and Death

Evidence suggests that cannabis use prior to driving increases the risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accident.  Furthermore, evidence suggests that in states where cannabis use is legal, there is increased risk of unintentional cannabis overdose injuries among children.  In one study, ingestion was the most common route of unintentional pediatric exposure, accounting for 78 percent of all incidents.  Another study reported that from 2000 to 2013, the annual rate of poison center calls related to cannabis exposures among children younger than 6 years of age was 2.82 times higher in states that had legalized medical cannabis prior to 2000 than in states where medical cannabis remained illegal as of 2013.  The committee called for more research to determine whether and how cannabis use is associated with death or with occupational injury.


Regarding the link between marijuana and cancer, the committee found evidence that suggests smoking cannabis does not increase the risk for cancers often associated with tobacco use – such as lung and head and neck cancers.  The committee also found limited evidence that cannabis use is associated with one sub-type of testicular cancer and insufficient evidence that cannabis use by a mother or father during pregnancy leads to a greater risk of cancers in the child.

Heart Attack, Stroke, and Diabetes

The committee said that more research is needed to determine whether and how cannabis use is associated with heart attack, stroke, and diabetes.  However, some evidence suggests that cannabis smoking may trigger a heart attack.

Respiratory Disease

The evidence reviewed by the committee suggests that smoking cannabis on a regular basis is associated with more frequent chronic bronchitis episodes and worse respiratory symptoms, such as chronic cough and phlegm production, but quitting cannabis smoking is likely to reduce these conditions.  The committee stated that it is unclear whether cannabis use is associated with certain respiratory diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, or worsened lung function.


There is a lack of data on the effects of cannabis or cannabinoid-based therapeutics on the human immune system, as well as insufficient data to draw overarching conclusions concerning the effects of cannabis smoke or cannabinoids on immune competence, the committee stated.  There is also insufficient evidence to support or refute a statistical association between cannabis or cannabinoid use and adverse effects on immune status in individuals with HIV.  Nevertheless, limited evidence suggests that regular exposure to cannabis smoke may have anti-inflammatory activity.

Mental Health

The evidence reviewed by the committee suggests that cannabis use is likely to increase the risk of developing schizophrenia, other psychoses, and social anxiety disorders, and to a lesser extent depression.  Alternatively, in individuals with schizophrenia and other psychoses, a history of cannabis use may be linked to better performance on learning and memory tasks.  Heavy cannabis users are more likely to report thoughts of suicide than non-users, and in individuals with bipolar disorder, near-daily cannabis users show increased symptoms of the disorder than non-users.

Problem Cannabis Use

The evidence reviewed by the committee suggests that with greater frequency of cannabis use, there is an increased likelihood of developing problem cannabis use.  There is also evidence to suggest that initiating cannabis use at a younger age increases the likelihood of developing problem cannabis use.

Cannabis Use and the Abuse of Other Substances

The committee found limited evidence that cannabis use increases the rate of initiating other drug use, primarily the use of tobacco.  However, the committee found moderate evidence to suggest that there is a link between cannabis use and the development of substance dependence and/or a substance abuse disorder for substances including alcohol, tobacco, and other illicit drugs.


The committee found that learning, memory, and attention are impaired after immediate cannabis use.  Limited evidence suggests that there are impairments in cognitive domains of learning, memory, and attention in individuals who have stopped smoking cannabis.  In addition, there is limited evidence to suggest that cannabis use is related to impairments in subsequent academic achievement and education as well as social relationships and social roles.  Adolescence and young adulthood are when most youth begin to experiment with substances of abuse, including cannabis, and it is during these periods that the neural layers that underlie the development of cognition are most active.  The committee also found limited evidence of an association between cannabis use and increased rates of unemployment and low income. 

Prenatal, Perinatal, and Neonatal Exposure

Smoking cannabis during pregnancy is linked to lower birth weight in the offspring, some evidence suggests. However, the relationship with other pregnancy and childhood outcomes is unclear.

Challenges and Barriers in Conducting Cannabis Research

In addition to recommending more research on the beneficial and harmful effects of cannabis and cannabinoid use, the committee emphasized several challenges and barriers in conducting such research.  For instance, specific regulatory barriers, including the classification of cannabis as a Schedule I substance, impede the advancement of research.  Researchers also often find it difficult to gain access to the quantity, quality, and type of cannabis product necessary to address specific research questions.  The committee said a diverse network of funders is needed to support cannabis and cannabinoid research.  

The study was sponsored by Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, Arizona Department of Health Services, California Department of Public Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CDC Foundation, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Mat-Su Health Foundation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, National Institutes of Health National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health National Institute on Drug Abuse, Oregon Health Authority, Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, The Colorado Health Foundation, Truth Initiative, and Washington State Department of Health.  The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are private, nonprofit institutions that provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions related to science, technology, and medicine.  The National Academies operate under an 1863 congressional charter to the National Academy of Sciences, signed by President Lincoln.  For more information, visit http://national-academies.org.  A roster follows.

Social Media:

Download Report
Chapter Highlights
Report Highlights
Committee Conclusions

Jennifer Walsh, Senior Media Relations Officer
Rebecca Ray, Media Relations Assistant
Office of News and Public Information
202-334-2138; e-mail news@nas.edu

Copies of The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research are available from the National Academies Press at http://www.nap.edu or by calling 1-800-624-6242.  Reporters may obtain a copy from the Office of News and Public Information (contacts listed above).

Health and Medicine Division
Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice
Committee of the Health Effects of Marijuana: An Evidence Review and Research Agenda

Marie McCormick, M.D., Sc.D.* (chair)
Harvard School of Public Health
Harvard University

Donald I. Abrams, M.D.
Hematology-Oncology Division
Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, and
Professor of Medicine
University of California
San Francisco

Margarita Alegria, Ph.D., M.A.*
Disparities Research Unit
Department of Medicine
Massachusetts General Hospital

William Checkley, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Medicine
Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care
John Hopkins University

Lorraine Collins, Ph.D.

Associate Dean for Research
School of Public Health and Health Professions, and
Department of Community Health and Health Behavior
University at Buffalo-South Campus
Buffalo, N.Y.

Ziva Cooper, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurobiology
Department of Psychiatry
Columbia University Medical Center
New York City

Adre J. Du Plessis, M.D.
Fetal Medicine Institute,
Division Chief
Fetal and Transitional Medicine, and
Fetal Brain Program
Children’s National Health System
Washington, D.C.

Sarah Feldstein Ewing, Ph.D.
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Oregon Health and Science University

Sean Hennessy, Ph.D.*
Professor of Epidemiology, Systems Pharmacology, and Translational Therapeutics
Perelman School of Medicine
University of Pennsylvania

Kent Hutchison, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
Colorado University

Norbert E. Kaminski, Ph.D., M.S.
Professor, Pharmacology and Toxicology, and
Institute for Integrative Toxicology
Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology
Michigan State University
East Lansing

Sachin Patel, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Director
Division of Addiction Psychiatry
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Nashville, Tenn.

Danielle Piomelli, Ph.D.
Professor, Anatomy and Neurobiology
School of Medicine, and
Louise Turner Chair in Neurosciences
Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology
University of California

Stephen Sidney, M.D., M.P.H.
Director of Research Clinics
Division of Research
Kaiser Permanente Northern California

Robert B. Wallace, M.Sc., M.D.*
Irene Ensminger Stecher Professor of Epidemiology and Internal Medicine
Department of Epidemiology
University of Iowa College of Public Health
Iowa City

John Williams, M.D.
Professor of Medicine
Duke University Medical Center
Durham, N.C.


Leigh Jackson, Ph.D.
Study Director

*Member, National Academy of Medicine



Friday, January 13, 2017

Harvard Journal of Law & Gender -- Reconsidering Gender Quotas


Reconsidering the Remedy of Gender Quotas
Tracy A. Thomas*
         When newly elected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked by surprised reporters why he appointed women as 50% of his cabinet, he responded simply, “Because it’s 2015.”[1] Just because. Because it’s time. In fact, he implied, it is long past time for having to justify including women as one-half of the power structure when women constitute one-half of the population. American presidential candidate Hillary Clinton similarly aimed to appoint a cabinet of half women if elected.[2] At the global level, the United Nations’ initiative “Planet 50-50 by 2030” challenges governments to commit to putting women in 50% of positions of economic and political power, because they are 50% of the planet.[3] All these efforts demonstrate Trudeau’s point that it’s time for meaningful change in shared governance through a method as simple as selecting women for half of all positions of power.[4]

This same idea of gender parity applies in everyday governance at all levels. It is long past time for justifying the need to reform American institutions that exclude women from the power structure. Rather than stumbling along the path of continued sex discrimination by the ineffective application of judicial Band-Aids to systemic problems, it is time for alteration of the power structure itself. It’s time for the law to endorse the equal representation of women in all power venues in order to remedy—permanently—longstanding, resistant systemic sex discrimination.[5] And the way to achieve this goal of gender parity might be quotas.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

HKS Gender Neutral Restrooms


Escape the ____’s Room: Deconstructing Gender Neutral Bathrooms at HKS

admin April 19, 2016 Blog posts    Leave a comment

By Ted Sands

In a place that prices social currency through inclusion, I was surprised to hear cynicism sprinkled atop confusion from my staked-out study spot on the HKS campus. But here, sandwiched between office hours and problem sets, I again heard discussion of HKS’ new gender neutral bathrooms float through the halls.

“I just don’t get ‘gender neutral’,” a classmate mused. “Isn’t unisex good enough?”

I heard a familiar recital of talking points linking gender neutral bathrooms to inclusion of the LGBTQ community. But the change needed on our campus steps beyond touting swapped signs as a sign of campus inclusivity. Rather, it challenges us to reconsider inherent social biases between sex and gender, between our genitalia and the social norms society assigns to them.

Conversations around gendered bathrooms have been circulating around the Kennedy School for the past couple years. Last year, the LGBTQ Caucus requested gender neutral bathrooms during the comment period on the design of the new facilities under construction. But the nearly-overnight change to the gender of existing single-stall restrooms came this January after Caroline Gimmillaro (MPP2) directly emailed her request to Deans Archon Fung and Doug Elmendorf.

“I don’t understand the division,” Gimmillaro said in an interview. “These spaces are identical. Why would we need to enforce gender?” Indeed, why do we choose to restrict facility access based on gender?

Since the Victorian Era, restrooms have provided a powerful example of deeply rooted gender dynamics in Western society. Gendered bathrooms first entered the United States as women entered the workforce through Massachusetts factories in the late 1880s. But as women moved from the home to the factory, social expectations followed them. Women’s restrooms were furnished with drapes, flowers and chairs, decorated with homely touches that preserved Victorian notions that women needed comfort from the menace of industrial life.

Although the decorations have changed, expectations of these gendered spaces remain. In Toilet: Public Restrooms and the Politics of Sharing, editors Harvey Molotch and Laura Norén highlight how women’s rooms provide sanctuaries for a host of gendered activities deemed inappropriate for public space: breast feeding, reapplying make-up, or for debriefing failed flirting tactics on a group date.

A similar code enforces behavior in men’s rooms. Social norms against conversation or eye contact in men’s public restrooms underscore the discontinuity between masculinity and vulnerability. In more familiar settings of locker rooms or corporate restrooms, they host scenes of team bonding or quips of business deals.

These rooms, Molotch and Norén claim, are more than just gendered spaces. They are our most gendered spaces, ones that either expect hyper-masculinity or provide sanctuary for women who seek refuge from it. By housing such a primal function as waste production, restrooms become places that enshrine some of our most primal expectations of gender performance.

These norms’ deep social roots explain why challenging them spurns tremendous public outcry. In the past six months, legislation from Houston to North Carolina has stripped protections from LGBTQ populations, with the “common decency” of bathroom access playing a central role in swaying public opinion. The central campaign message reflected a visceral threat to challenging gender norms: “no men in women’s restrooms.”

Many of these fears stem from the threat of eliminating the perceived safety of women’s restrooms. Opponents of gender neutral restrooms paint pictures of predatory men posing as trans men to gain access to women’s restrooms, or question the legitimacy of the access trans men claim to the men’s room. But these claims again highlight the visceral emotional response to defying the protective spaces gendered restrooms are expected to provide. Not only have there been no reports of predatory men using such cover, but the viral selfie campaign #wejustneedtopee showcases the striking irony of forcing trans people to use restrooms that do not match their gender identity. These opposing sets of rhetoric articulate a common theme. Constructions around gender have garnered a false sense of safety, one unrelated to genitalia and completely dependent on conformance to gender expectations.

Ultimately, we all just need a place to pee. Yet with so much political discourse surrounding bathroom use, the call for leadership from our institutions has never been clearer. Jacob Tobia, a genderqueer advocate and writer in New York, describes institutions as a built reflection of our social values and principals. By constructing safe, gender neutral restrooms in our respected institutions, we begin to separate our need for a toilet from the lines of code that tell us how, when and where to use it.

Gender neutral restrooms do much more than include those who challenge traditional gender norms. They release us, even if just a little bit, from the roles we have been programmed to play.

Next time you head to an HKS loo, head for a gender neutral bathroom. You may leave feeling a bit lighter than you thought you would.

Ted Sands is a joint degree student at the Harvard Kennedy School and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Allison Suite 420 Tokeland Hotel


Allison Wunderland Suite 420 Tokeland Hotel

 It's a more narrative, blog -- stream of proto-consciousness. 

Conceptualizing the Closet: Differentiating Stigma Concealment and Nondisclosure Processes

Conceptualizing the Closet: Differentiating Stigma Concealment and Nondisclosure Processes

Skyler D. Jackson and Jonathan J. Mohr University of Maryland, College Park

Individuals with concealable stigmatized identities face many options regarding whether, when, how, and to whom to conceal or disclose information about their marginalized social status. Numerous studies have examined the psychosocial health consequences of different stigma concealment and disclosure processes, but research in this area is hindered by a relative lack of attention to potential differences among these stigma management variables.



Research has made it increasingly clear that stigma management decisions impact psychological health and social identity among people with indiscernible stigmatized identities. However, to unearth whether, how, and when stigma management intersects with psychosocial factors, more attention must be given to the similarities and differences between various conceptualizations and assessments of stigma management constructs. This study is one of a handful that has investigated multiple stigma management variables simultaneously, and results question the conventional wisdom that they reflect a singular process. Thinking about stigma management as a set of distinct, interrelated processes raises intriguing possibilities for future scholarship related to the conceptualization assessment, and study of identity management.
Such contributions could help strengthen current clinical interventions, social services, and advocacy work aimed to support the well-being of individuals with concealable identities.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Voire Dire for Dummies

Voir Dire For Dummies: Using Visual and Auditory Cues and
Question Design to Avoid the Pitfalls of Bunk Science, Gender
Stereotypes, Perceptual Errors, and the Social Desirability Bias


The aura of the jury is universal. A group of strangers randomly selected from the community has the power to decide the fate of an attorney’s client. An attorney must convince them, for they will decide. In a criminal trial, their decision is the difference between freedom and incarceration, or even between life and death. Nothing is more important. But who are these strangers? What makes an optimal juror? An attorney must figure out which jurors will be sympathetic to his client and his side of the case. Voir dire is the tool.

Effects of EEOC Recognition of Title VII as Prohibiting Discrimination Based on Transgender Identity

This blog is NOT going to become cut/paste from other sites --
That said, Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy has some good links that are worth linking.


Effects of EEOC Recognition of Title VII as Prohibiting Discrimination Based on Transgender Identity

by Lauren Sanders Click here for a PDF file of this article


Marriage Equality and Obergefell’s Generational (Not Glucksberg’s Traditional) Due Process Clause

by Ronald Turner Click here for a PDF file of this article

“Every age and generation must be as free to act for itself, in all cases, as the ages
and generation which preceded it.

In its landmark decision in Obergefell v. Hodges2 the United States Supreme
Court, by a 5-4 vote, held that “the right to marry is a fundamental right inherent
in the liberty of the person,”3 and that state laws depriving same-sex couples of
that right and liberty violate the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the
Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.4
Much will be written in the coming months and years about the Court’s
decision and the views expressed and positions taken in the majority and
dissenting opinions. This essay focuses on one aspect of Obergefell: the majority’s
and dissents’ differing interpretations and applications of the Due Process
Clause. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s opinion for the Court is an exemplar of
due process generationalism. Under that methodology, the meaning and scope of
the liberty protected by the Due Process Clause is discerned and defined, not by
those who wrote and ratified the Fourteenth Amendment, but by “future
generations . . . protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its
meaning.”5 Rejecting that approach, the dissenting Justices employed due process
traditionalism, a methodology in which the Due Process Clause is interpreted in
accordance with the nation’s deeply rooted and long-standing traditions and
history.6 As discussed herein, Obergefell’s generational liberty protects a same-sexcouple’s right to marry; that right would not be recognized under a liberty
principle grounded in and defined solely by reference to tradition.

Copyright © 2016 by Ronald Turner
* Alumnae Law Center Professor of Law, University of Houston Law Center. The author
acknowledges and is thankful for the research support provided by the Alumnae Law Center donors
and the University of Houston Law Foundation.

This monograph considers SCOTUS holding from several cases. We have herein (infra) provided a listing of the cases and principal legal issues. 

Bowers v. HardwickBowers v. Hardwick, 478 U.S. 186, 190 (1986).

wherein the Court rejected a
substantive due process challenge to a Georgia law criminalizing so-called
homosexual sodomy.” Justice Byron Raymond White’s opinion for a five-Justice
Court majority13 framed the issue for resolution as follows: “whether the Federal
Constitution confers a fundamental right upon homosexuals to engage in
sodomy and hence invalidates the laws of many States that still make such
conduct illegal and have done so for a very long time.”14

Washington v. GlucksbergWashington v. Glucksberg, 521 U.S. 702 (1997).

involved a challenge to a
Washington state law prohibiting assisted suicide. Writing for the Court, Chief
Justice William H. Rehnquist began his analysis with an examination of this
country’s history, legal traditions, and practices. “In almost every State—indeed,
in almost every Western democracy—it is a crime to assist a suicide.”24 He set
out various indicators of what he deemed to be the pertinent tradition: Anglo-
American common law tradition punished or disapproved of suicide and
assisted suicide for more than 700 years; the American colonies adopted that
common-law approach, as did early state legislatures and courts;

Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey35 a joint opinion authored by
Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, Anthony Kennedy, and David H. Souter
reaffirmed the central holding of Roe v. Wade.36 The trio observed that it was
tempting . . . to suppose that the Due Process Clause protects only those
practices, defined at the most specific level, that were protected against
governmental interference by other rules of law when the Fourteenth
Amendment was ratified.”37

Now consider the Court’s post-Glucksberg analysis in the historic
Lawrence v. Texas decision.45 There, the Court, by a 5-4 vote, struck down a Texas statute
criminalizing “‘deviate sexual intercourse with another individual of the same
sex.’”46 Justice Kennedy, a member of the Glucksberg majority, authored a
majority opinion that made no reference to Glucksberg.

In repudiating Bowers’ due process traditionalism,
Lawrence did not even cite Glucksberg, an interesting omission given Bowers’ and Glucksberg’s shared
views regarding the interpretation and application of the Due Process Clause.73
Did Glucksberg survive Lawrence?74 The Court’s 2003 decision made no such
proclamation. Was Glucksberg limiting post-Lawrence to the specific issue decided
by the Court’s 1997 ruling, the claimed right to commit suicide with another
person’s assistance? The answer to that question at the time of the Lawrence
decision was by no means clear. What can be said with assurance is that
Lawrence’s due process generationalism, applied in the context of a challenge to a
law discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, invalidated the traditionbased
and discriminatory status quo.

United States v. Windsor (2013) 75 decision the Court, in yet another 5-4
ruling, held that the federal government violated the Fifth Amendment’s Due
Process Clause76 when it denied an estate tax refund to Edith Windsor, the
surviving spouse of a same-sex marriage sanctioned by the state of New York.77
That marriage was not recognized by the federal Defense of Marriage Act
(DOMA). DOMA defined “marriage” as “a legal union between one man and
one woman as husband and wife” and “spouse” as “a person of the opposite sex
who is a husband or a wife.”78

Obergefell v. HodgesObergefell v. Hodges, 135 S. Ct. 2584 (2015).

the Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote, held that “the
right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person, and
under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth
Amendment same-sex couples may not be deprived of that right and that

Gender Essentialism and American Law: Why and How to Sever the Connection

Gender Essentialism & American Law --

Here is another monograph from Duke Law: Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy

Gender Essentialism and American Law: Why and How to Sever the Connection

by Melina Constantine Bell
Click here for a PDF file of this article


American law presumes that all persons are born either female or male, and rests a surprising number of legal entitlements on this presumption. Persons’ legal rights to express their identity at work, to use public accommodations, and to retain legal parenthood status with respect to their children may all depend on whether they are female or male. Yet we, as individuals, generally have no choice regarding whether we are legally designated female or male, just as people had no choice as to whether they were designated “colored” or “white” under past racial discrimination schemes. The American legal system plays a significant role in the construction, maintenance, and coercive enforcement of the binary gender system that requires people to conform their identities in distorting ways to be included politically. By sustaining the gender system, legal institutions unnecessarily undermine human well-being, and unjustly and disrespectfully constrain individual liberty. The United States and state governments should re-examine laws that use sex or gender as a category by adapting the Law Commission of Canada’s methodology in Beyond Conjugality. In this fashion, American law can begin to move gradually away from the creation, maintenance, and enforcement of the gender system.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Duke Law Monograph -- "Perceiving Orientation: Defining Sexuality After Obergefell

Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy --



Perceiving Orientation: Defining Sexuality After Obergefell

by Mary Ziegler Click here for a PDF file of this article


In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, constitutional jurisprudence will have to more clearly define sexual orientation itself. The Obergefell majority describes sexuality as binary and suggests that any sexual orientation is immutable, normal, and constitutive of individual identity. Other scholars have shown how the kind of binary created by Obergefell excludes those with more fluid sexual identities and experiences from legal protection.
This Article illuminates new problems with Obergefell’s approach to sexuality by putting that definition in historical context. While describing sexuality as a matter of orientation may now seem inevitable, this Article shows that nothing could be further from the truth. In the 1970s, leading GLBTQ activists considered and rejected the language of sexual orientation. Instead, movement members battled for civil-rights laws banning discrimination on the basis of sexual or affectional preference.
The rhetoric of preference gained support for reasons that remain relevant to sexualorientation jurisprudence today. Drawing on the history of debates about sexual orientation, this Article proposes a definition that protects individuals on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation. A perceived-orientation approach addresses problems mentioned in leading studies as well as those spotlighted by activists in over time. First, this strategy will make it harder for discriminators to separate conduct and status. This approach also protects those who do not fit within established heterosexual or homosexual categories, but does not depend for its success on the rejection of those
entrenched binaries. Perhaps most importantly, a perceived-orientation approach promises relief to all victims of orientation-based stereotyping, not only to those who can prove their “true” status.

Here, Obergefell’s definition of sexual orientation is revealing. Kennedy cites the American Psychological Association (APA)’s definition for support. 237
In amicus briefs in both Windsor and Obergefell, the APA has described sexuality in the following terms:

Sexual orientation refers to an enduring disposition to experience sexual, affectional, and/or romantic attractions to one or both sexes. It also encompasses an individual’s sense of personal and social identity based on those attractions, on behaviors expressing those attractions, and on membership in a community of others who share those attractions and behaviors. Although sexual orientation ranges along a continuum from exclusively heterosexual to exclusively homosexual, it is usually discussed in three categories: heterosexual (having sexual and romantic attraction primarily or exclusively to members of the other sex), homosexual (having sexual and romantic attraction primarily or exclusively to members of one’s own sex), and bisexual (having a significant degree of sexual and romantic attraction to both sexes). 238

 ----------------------- end--------------------

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Nominative De-Construction

O, be some other name!
What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;

Romeo & Juliet, Act II Scene ii, l. 46 - 48

Juliet here is distressing about family lineage. The names I wish to distress and discurse are about diagnosis, dysphoria, disorder, and delegitimation. "Trans-invalidation" --

I link here to monograph, Transvestic Fetishism: Psychopathology or Iatrogenic Artifact?


"Iatrogenic" is a Latinate way of designating that the medical protocol caused the disease. When one searches (Google) "paraphilia" one encounters a great deal of focus upon sex offenders, court mandated management/treatment, and the ineluctable statistical reality that "paraphilia" is a male sort of "disorder." Paraphilia fixation/behaviors occur predominately in males. Females seem only to appear in cases of paraphilia relating to sado-masochism.

"Masochism is the only paraphilia in which any noticeable number of women participate— about 5% of masochists are female."

Read more:

Humpty Dumpty understands: “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

AUTHOR:Lewis Carroll (1832–98)
QUOTATION:“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”
ATTRIBUTION:LEWIS CARROLL (Charles L. Dodgson), Through the Looking-Glass, chapter 6, p. 205 (1934). First published in 1872.
Now, a few years later, 1916, Ferdinand de Saussure put this same idea into a formal linguistic paradigm. Here's the link to the pdf text:


Course in General Linguistics
Ferdinand de Saussure
Edited by Charles Bally and Albert Sechehaye
In collaboration with Albert Riedlinger
Translated, with an introduction
and notes by Wade Baskin

Fundamentally, Saussure affirms for us that the relation of the signifier to the signified is arbitrary and culturally determined. "Signifier" is the word we use to denote the "sign" -- the object, noun, concept, abstraction, (diagnosis) to which we refer. E.g. the French say "chien," Germans "Hundt," and English speakers call that furry domesticated hound with the wagging tail a "dog." 

Chien, Hundt, dog are all signifiers. 

Paraphilia is a signifier. That thing which "paraphilia" denotes, connotes, signifies is ARBITRARY. 

Paraphilia is a Greek -- "para" denoting beside, and "philia" denoting a love -- "Love" being a damned slippery, broad, and hard to pin down sort of signifier itself. 

Being linguistically, lexically agile ourselves, we can signify an archery allusion and assert that the upshot misses the target. Blanchard's "erotic target error" misses the target. We can easily de-construct the nominative, lexical paradigm of the "diagnosis." (And I include "diagnosis" in quotes to denote that it is a provisional use whose legitimacy I challenge.)
But back to the upshot, archery and this target we're considering in the erotic error of it all: 
The literature talks about the "hetero-normative dyad" -- This would be the cisM and cisF sexual congress which is potentially capable of producing progeny. Some would suggest this sexual paradigm is somehow a priori. (Never mind the fleeting images of vine covered cottages and white picket fences . , , )

Blanchard would like to boil diagnoses down to a sort of taxonomic tree: If you're "trans" and attracted to the "sex" of target partners who "sexually [intercourse] mesh" with your post-transitional presentational state (???) then you are essentially "homosexual" and "trans-sexual."

If you are a cisM and wish to transition to "female" -- but you are also erotically attracted to cisF, then Blanchard asserts this orientation/presentation is an "erotic target error" and accordingly diagnostically "pathological."

Tossing another conceptual ball into the air -- Michel Foucault, in "Histoire de la Sexualite" views  "the emergence of "sexuality" as a discursive object and separate sphere of life." "Discursive object" would be a noun, a name, a diagnosis if putting a label on it is part of your agenda.

Judith Butler notes that identity is performance, and our performances consist of "semes" -- linguistic artifacts that construct meaning. Some semes that construct presentation of gender would be skirts, ear-rings, long/short hair, hair bling, make-up, frills/lace . . . Semes for women appear easier to designate because much of how "women" is defined entails objectification and the accouterments of fashion.

But I digress --

"Paraphilia"  Male sexuality is object directed. This seems obvious, and this object directedness is the focus of radical feminists, feminists generally. "Treat me like a person. Don't treat me like a sex toy."

OK, fair enough. Let's add that pornography markets to this object directedness. Google any of the fetishes listed in the DSM 5 (any DSM edition) and you will come upon web sites whose proprietary and exclusive focus is that specific fetish.

Blanchard would argue that when erotic focus becomes fetishistic that this is an "erotic target error" in a diagnostic sense, and according to the DSM it becomes pathologized.  As noted above, "paraphilia" becomes the bailiwick of court mandate, medical/pharmacological management of sex offenders, chemical castration, radical bi-lateral orchiectomy.

Ironically as hell, chemical castration (Finasteride, Dutasteride) and radical bi-lateral orchiectomy are medical interventions offered "trans" whatever M to F as an initial stage of transitioning from cis-M to trans-F. Let me share the irony here --

Let me first include an abstract from a recent scholarly research monograph in the field:


Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2014 Nov;27(6):413-22. doi: 10.1097/YCO.0000000000000099.

Assessment methods and management of hypersexuality and paraphilic disorders.



The recent implementation of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition introduced some important changes in the conceptualization of hypersexuality and paraphilic disorders. The destigmatization of nonnormative sexual behaviors could be viewed as positive, However, other changes are more controversial. In order to stimulate new research approaches and provide mental healthcare providers with appropriate treatment regimes, validated assessment and treatment methods are needed. The purpose of this article is to review the studies published between January 2013 and July 2014 that aimed at assessing the psychometric properties of the currently applied assessment instruments and treatment approaches for hypersexuality and hypersexual disorders or paraphilias and paraphilic disorder.


Currently existing instruments can validly assess hypersexual behaviors in different populations (e.g. college students, gay and bisexual men, and patients with neurodegenerative disorders) and cultural backgrounds (e.g. Germany, Spain, and USA). Concerning the assessment of paraphilias, it was shown that combining different assessment methods show a better performance in distinguishing between patients with paraphilias and control groups. In addition to psychotherapeutic treatment, pharmacological agents aiming at a reduction of serum testosterone levels are used for hypersexual behaviors as well as paraphilic disorders.


Although the currently applied assessment and treatment methods seem to perform quite well, more research about the assessment and evidence-based treatment is needed. This would help to overcome the existing unresolved issues concerning the conceptualization of hypersexual and paraphilic disorders.
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

My docs at the VA have treated my service-connected PTSD with SSRI (Prozac, Paxil, Sertraline). SSRI are first line medication for the management of sexual offenders, as an adjunctive management of "chemical castration." Additionally, the anti-androgens are Rx for sex offenders to suppress testosterone. Ironically, I requested Finasteride (anti-androgen) as an Rx for BPH (benign prostate hyperplasia -- "night peeing"). Granted there are other medications for BPH, but I specifically requested Finasteride because it is first line Rx for suppressing testosterone in gender transition. -- And it seems to be working for me on all fronts.

I pointed out to my prescribers, both medical and psychiatric, that Rx for Finasteride with the intention of testosterone suppression for gender transition is -- in essence -- enabling my putative "transvestic fetishism" and "paraphilia."  Forgive me while I "LMAO."

Humpty Dumpty understands: “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

Foucault gets it when he asserts,  "the emergence of "sexuality" as a discursive object and separate sphere of life." Foucault additionally asserts that varieties of sexual expression are infinite.

Judith Butler gets it when she notes that "Identity is performance." Speech Act Theory holds that the spoken word is an act. Some speech acts confer identity/status, e.g. "I now pronounce you husband and wife." If clothing is presentation (it is) and presentation is an act of identity, clothing and presentation are two means to create an identity. Identity and presentation are performative. Performance is Speech Act.

Jacques Derrida --  French Post-Structuralist wrings his literary-critical hands and moans, "All readings are mis-readings." The most readily accessible exegesis of this principle is seen in poetical interpretation. Images, abstractions, metaphor, poetic devices all serve to afford the reader various "readings" or interpretations of the text, the poem, what it means. The text must be "performed" -- i.e. it does not jump off the page and announce its meaning. The text must be read, performed, interpreted to make meaning of it.

The literary term for this multitude of textual interpretation is "poly-semous"

What is polysemous in linguistics?

The word polysemy comes from the Greek words πολυ-, poly-, “many” and σήμα, sêma, “sign”. In other words it is the capacity for a word, phrase, or sign to have multiple meanings i.e., a large semantic field. Polysemy is a pivotal concept within the humanities, such as media studies and linguistics.

 And so, "para-philia" by any of it various diagnostic specifiers, is an arbitrary seme, a culturally derived concept with social baggage, values, diagnostic authority, seeming medical legitimacy. 

Blanchard would like us to believe that gender presentation can be boiled down to sexual orientation in a rigidly dogmatic taxonomic tree. 

Such assertions fly in the face of everything literary critical, metaphysical, linguistic, and diagnostic. 
I am as unique as my genetic biome. Let's not put me -- or any of us -- in a diagnostic box. Let us not decide, as a diagnostic function, which performance is "pathological." 

Let Humpty Dumpty guide us here, 

it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”