WBEZ | gender http://www.wbez.org/tags/gender Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Why Hilary Clinton may not have the women's vote locked up http://www.wbez.org/news/why-hilary-clinton-may-not-have-womens-vote-locked-113004 <p><p>At her big campaign kickoff rally back in June, Hillary Clinton delivered a line about the glass ceiling she hopes to break.</p><p>&quot;Well, I may not be the youngest candidate in this race, but I will be the youngest woman president in the history of the United States,&quot; she said.</p><p>Over the weekend, both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton brought their presidential campaigns to New Hampshire &mdash; a state where, in 2008, 56 percent of Democratic primary voters were women. You might think Clinton has the women&#39;s vote locked up&mdash;&nbsp;but in talking to women on the campaign trail, that doesn&#39;t seem to be the case.</p><div id="res442230609"><aside><div><blockquote><p><em>&quot;I think [Bernie Sanders] has a lot of good ideas. But at the same time I feel kind of guilty for not supporting Hillary because she is a woman.&quot; - Elizabeth Fiske</em></p></blockquote></div></aside></div><p>Reverend Jeanne Fournier said she&#39;s convinced now is Clinton&#39;s time. She said she&#39;s had a sign at her house for 20-some years that reads &quot;A woman&#39;s place is in the House, the Senate and the Oval Office.&quot;</p><p>She gets excited thinking about the message a female president would send to young women and girls.</p><p>&quot;You&#39;re not just a pretty face. You could lead our country,&quot; she said.</p><p>But Fournier might be an outlier &mdash; many of the women I&#39;ve interviewed, even at Clinton&#39;s own events, don&#39;t seem quite so animated by the idea of making history. Identity politics, in this case, may not matter that much.</p><p>&quot;Right now I am torn between Bernie and Hillary,&quot; said Elizabeth Fiske, a sophomore at the University of New Hampshire. She recently came out to see Clinton talk about college affordability. Fiske is a women&#39;s studies major and says her friends keep talking about Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent. She likes what she hears &mdash; which is causing some angst.</p><p>&quot;I think he has a lot of good ideas. But at the same time I feel kind of guilty for not supporting Hillary because she is a woman,&quot; she said. &quot;Because I feel like I should be &#39;oh we could have a women in a position of power that&#39;s really good.&#39; But at the same time, I feel like it shouldn&#39;t matter and I should support the politics of it and not the gender or the identity.&quot;</p><p><img alt="Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton flexes her muscles with Miss Teen New Hampshire Allie Knault, center, and Miss New Hampshire Holly Blanchard, during a Fourth of July parade, Saturday, July 4, 2015, in Gorham, N.H. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_642248285144.jpg" style="float: left; height: 291px; width: 400px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton flexes her muscles with Miss Teen New Hampshire Allie Knault, center, and Miss New Hampshire Holly Blanchard, during a Fourth of July parade, Saturday, July 4, 2015, in Gorham, N.H. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)" />There&#39;s a sense especially among younger women that it doesn&#39;t have to be Clinton. If it doesn&#39;t happen now, they are sure it will happen in their lifetime. But it&#39;s not just the college set.</p><p>&quot;I would like to see a woman president, but that doesn&#39;t mean I would want to see any woman as president,&quot; said Marjorie Smith, who serves in the New Hampshire House of Representatives.</p><p>Smith was sitting near the back at the Clinton event at the University of New Hampshire campus &mdash; still shopping around for a candidate to support in 2016.</p><div id="res442216074"><aside><div><blockquote><p><em>&quot;I would like to see a woman president, but that doesn&#39;t mean I would want to see any woman as president.&quot; - Marjorie Smith</em></p></blockquote></div></aside></div><p>&quot;Would I decide to support a presidential candidate because she&#39;s a woman? No,&quot; she said. &quot;Would I support a candidate who is a woman? Absolutely, if in fact in the end I think she&#39;s the best candidate. And I&#39;m just not there yet.&quot;</p><p>When Clinton ran in 2008, she downplayed the potential historical significance of her candidacy. She aimed to exude strength, to prove her commander-in-chief credentials. But this time around, her stump speeches includes frequent references to being a grandmother and she has made so-called women&#39;s issues centerpieces of her campaign.</p><p>&quot;Republicans often say I&#39;m playing the gender card. Well, if supporting women&#39;s health and women&#39;s rights is playing the gender card, deal me in because that is exactly where I want to be,&quot; she said recently.</p><p>Most of the women I interviewed at campaign events said they were judging Clinton on the merits, her ideas, and in some cases her baggage.</p><p>Cassidy Davis, a high school senior who drove an hour to see Bernie Sanders speak in Virginia, said she doesn&#39;t &quot;appreciate the dishonesty as far as the emails go&quot; when it comes to Clinton. &quot;I understand she had the right to delete them. But ... I&#39;m not going to Hillary. I&#39;m not feeling it</p><p>For mother of three Elizabeth Webber, who supports Clinton, the &quot;woman thing&quot; has very little to do with her feelings about the candidate.</p><p>&quot;I think she honestly has the experience and the tenacity to get the job done,&quot; she said. &quot;I love what she did when she was secretary of state and we need that.&quot;</p><p>And Webber&#39;s three adult daughters tell the story of this campaign right now. One supports Clinton. One supports Sanders. And one is still trying to decide.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/09/21/442148898/think-hillary-clinton-has-the-womens-vote-locked-up-think-again?ft=nprml&amp;f=442148898"><em>&mdash; NPR&#39;s It&#39;s All Politics</em></a></p></p> Mon, 21 Sep 2015 10:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/why-hilary-clinton-may-not-have-womens-vote-locked-113004 Transgender community struggles to find its place in modern India http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-07-18/transgender-community-struggles-find-its-place-modern-india-110525 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/real pic for web siri.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><br />The Mahabharatha, one of India&rsquo;s most ancient texts, tells tales of gods and demons, of kings and queens, and of common men and women. The epic story takes place over hundreds of years and serves as the foundation for Hinduism. The most popular stories are of Lord Vishnu or Arjun, passed on in Indian households from generation to generation in songs or bedtime stories. But the less talked about characters are Mohini and Brihannala &ndash; who are versions of Lord Vishnu and Arjun in female form.<br /><br />Stories idolizing transgender characters are not uncommon in Hindu mythology, nor were transgender people uncommon in ancient Indian society. Eunuchs, transgender people and cross-dressers were referred to as Hijra &ndash; an Urdu-Hindustani word adopted into modern Hindi. They were hired regularly to guard queen&rsquo;s chambers or assist priests in temples, both highly respected positions.<br /><br />Today&rsquo;s transgender community live in a very different reality.<br /><br />Hundreds of years of imperialist British rule have left imprints of colonial-era puritanical values within, what was, a vastly accepting society. Traditional Indian culture was seen as primitive and soft in contrast to the rational and masculine tradition of the western world. Educated Indians began distancing themselves from customs perceived as effeminate or traditional, so as to assimilate with the British elite. This is when the Hijra first became marginalized and ostracized from the rest of Indian society. &nbsp;<br /><br />Furthermore, the British imposed an anti-sodomy law in 1861 which outlawed all acts of &ldquo;unnatural intercourse,&rdquo; thus criminalizing the Hijra community entirely. &nbsp;Today, the Hijra community find themselves on the margins of society, often living in precarious circumstances and vulnerable to abuse.</p><p><strong>A very different reality&nbsp;</strong></p><p>&quot;The amount of discrimination you face because of your gender and sexuality and because of your caste and class&hellip; that&rsquo;s the matter,&quot; says Akkai Padmashali, a Hijra born in Bangalore. &quot;We&#39;re fighting against this attitude with society every day.&quot;<br /><br />Despite being born into an educated, middle class family, Akkai found that her family reacted with anger and revulsion to her decision to identify as a girl, having been born biologically male. At the age of sixteen she ran away with two of her friends and joined a community of Hijras. Barred from most other professions, the Hijras often earn money from sex work. Akkai was one of them.&nbsp;<br /><br />&quot;I didn&#39;t want to do sex work. It was pressure. I had to earn money so I did it,&quot; says Akkai. &quot;Men. Homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, they all came to us for sex work. They don&#39;t do these things with their wives or their partners so they come to us.&quot;<br /><br />The Bangalore police picked up Akkai and several of her Hijra sisters while they were participating in sex work. &quot;We were taken to the police station. The whole station wanted to know how we had sex, what sort of sexual acts we indulged in. They kept us for the whole day and made fun of us&hellip; the whole station.&quot;<br /><br />In joining the Hijra community, Akkai had lost her value from mainstream society - becoming, in effect, a non-person. If clients were abusive, there was no one to help. Even the police were against her.</p><p>BT Venkatesh is the senior legal advocate for Sangama, a human rights organization for sexual minorities. &quot;Most Hijras do sex work because there is no other work for them,&quot; he says. &quot;They are pushed into that by society and society should accept them.&quot;<br /><br />&quot;In some areas, the Hijras are arrested, beaten, raped, kept illegally in the police station and no one is willing to be a surety for bail. It is a very bad scene. But in Bangalore, Sangama will come to the police station and prosecute them for unconstitutional behavior,&quot; she says.<br /><br />&quot;If the police is [sic] beating me, I will take the beatings,&quot; says Akkai. &quot;I will not turn around and beat him. Then go according to the law, if you die, you die. But we follow the constitutional laws.&quot;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div id="PictoBrowser140718161254">Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer</div><script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.db798.com/pictobrowser/swfobject.js"></script><script type="text/javascript"> var so = new SWFObject("http://www.db798.com/pictobrowser.swf", "PictoBrowser", "500", "500", "8", "#EEEEEE"); so.addVariable("source", "sets"); so.addVariable("names", "Koovagam Festival"); so.addVariable("userName", "chicagopublicmedia"); so.addVariable("userId", "33876038@N00"); so.addVariable("ids", "72157645752438001"); so.addVariable("titles", "on"); so.addVariable("displayNotes", "on"); so.addVariable("thumbAutoHide", "off"); so.addVariable("imageSize", "medium"); so.addVariable("vAlign", "mid"); so.addVariable("vertOffset", "0"); so.addVariable("colorHexVar", "EEEEEE"); so.addVariable("initialScale", "off"); so.addVariable("bgAlpha", "90"); so.write("PictoBrowser140718161254"); </script><br /><p>On April 15th, 2014, the Indian Supreme Court passed a landmark judgment, which now permits transgender people to legally identify themselves under a &ldquo;third gender&rdquo; option. In India there are an estimated two million transgender people who, until now, have been unable to obtain official government documents due to exclusion from the legal system. In the past, a hospital could turn away a Hijra due to confusion over which ward to place them in.<br /><br />Under this ruling, transgender individuals may legally register for health care, bank accounts and passports. In addition, they now fall under a protected group called the OBCs, or Other Backwards Castes, who are extended a 37% reservation for government positions.&nbsp;<br /><br />Barathi K is a Hijra from the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. She says that the ruling is the first step towards acceptance from society.&nbsp;&ldquo;The first problem that we are facing is that the family is not accepting us. That will automatically be eradicated after we get job opportunities, economically some growth will come, slowly acceptance will come.<br />Society will also start to respect us once we get opportunities for employment&hellip; so that will happen once we mingle with our family. And that will happen because of the Supreme Court judgment. So really, really we are happy.&rdquo;<br /><br />After four years of sex work, Akkai decided it was time to rejoin her family. With the help of her younger brother, Akkai was able to negotiate a way back. &quot;I fought in a very positive sort of fight,&quot; she says. &quot;I am this. I just want to be what I am. Just to have my own feelings. That kind of debate was taking place for eight years.&quot;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>For higher caste families, Akkai imagines the struggle is even more difficult as those castes can often be more conservative. &quot;Just imagine if you&#39;re [the highest caste] and become homosexual and you come out, how does your caste treat you? The community will put you out of your caste. Same with transgenderism. People don&#39;t [compromise] with that, they&#39;ll always judge you.&quot;</p><p>BT Venkatesh has been going door to door and working with families by encouraging them to accept family members who are part of the hijra community. &nbsp;He says he also wants to see &nbsp;law enforcement to provide more protection for hijras.</p><p>&nbsp;&quot;We have to start with the police. They are the ones who should enforce the protective laws to help sexual minorities...A police officer we were prosecuting got angry with me and shouted &#39;Are you a Hijra?&#39; and I said, &#39;Of course I am!&#39; Because I feel their struggles, their issues, their pain.&quot; In all of Venkatesh&#39;s time working with Sangama, he has never lost a case.</p><p>&quot;Things are changing very slowly. But they are changing. Now in Bangalore, the police think twice before arresting a Hijra. They know that Sangama will come after them,&quot; says Venkatesh.</p><p>Meanwhile, the day-to-day struggles continue for Akkai and the transgender community. Despite growing awareness and small signs of acceptance, there are many challenges yet to be addressed.</p><p>&quot;I think behind the happiness there is a huge amount of sadness,&quot; says Akkai. A huge amount lack of space. You can&#39;t wear a sari outside, you can&#39;t behave feminine in the outside society. If you do, you&#39;re done, you&#39;re killed.&nbsp; You&#39;re targeted and you can&#39;t express what you are.&quot;</p><p>It&#39;s only been four months since the Supreme Court ruling so changes on the ground are slow. Still, many members of the hijra community feel like the recognition of their human rights by the government and society at-large are an important step toward rejoining the mainstream.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Siri Bulusu is a freelance journalist based in Bangalore,India. You can follow her on twitter @siri_notsiri</em><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 15:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-07-18/transgender-community-struggles-find-its-place-modern-india-110525 Alder-MAN-ia: Why Chicago hasn't dumped a gender-exclusive term http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/alder-man-ia-why-chicago-hasnt-dumped-gender-exclusive-term-110215 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/150633976&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>In 1987 <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/alder-man-ia-why-chicago-hasn%E2%80%99t-dumped-gender-exclusive-term-110215#toddmelby">Todd Melby</a> was a student at Northwestern University&rsquo;s Medill School of Journalism, and as part of regular class assignments he&rsquo;d cover Chicago&rsquo;s City Hall. The experience stuck with him for decades. Even from his present-day home of Minneapolis, he was motivated to send along this question concerning the most fundamental term used in City Council:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>Why hasn&#39;t Chicago dumped the guy-centric &quot;alderman&quot; title yet?</em></p><p>Maybe Todd&#39;s onto something. Cities across the country have been moving away from official use of the term, as language has become more gender-inclusive over time. That&rsquo;s especially true in cases where political and service titles can be regulated by local and state government. Firemen have officially become firefighters, for example. Ditto when it comes to police officers. As to why the term &quot;alderman&quot; in Chicago (as well as other Illinois cities with the aldermanic form of government) is a holdout, we found it has to do with law, for sure, but political inertia has played a part, too.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Women as Chicago aldermen</span></p><p>To back up a bit, the origin of the word alderman is inherently based on a single gender. The &quot;alder&quot; part comes from the Old English &quot;aldor&quot; meaning chief or patriarch, and the &quot;man&quot; part comes from the Old English ancestor of the same word.</p><p>&quot;Our language in government still reflects a bygone era when most elected officials were white males,&quot; said Gerald Gabris, a municipal government expert based at Northern Illinois University.</p><p>The earliest mention we found of a possible Chicago &ldquo;alderwoman&rdquo; candidate came in an 1902 in a <em>Chicago Daily Tribune</em> article.</p><p>&quot;&#39;The Alderwoman&#39;&quot; would be welcomed as a refining influence in the City Council &mdash; if she could get in,&quot; the article begins. But aldermen and city department heads quoted in the article voiced concern about whether women would want the job, or how they would act in it. &quot;Imagine a woman thinking that she had to answer to her constituents for those streets,&quot; the head of the city&#39;s Street department is quoted as saying. &quot;The whole office force would have to get out with whisk brooms and clean up for her.&rdquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Chicago didn&rsquo;t have women on the council &mdash; regardless of what they were called &mdash; until 1971, when Marilou Hedlund and Anna Langford were elected.</p><p>Fast forward to 2014, when women hold fewer than one out of every three seats in City Council &mdash; a fact that some female aldermen say is a bigger issue than their gendered title. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;I think focusing on the word is less important than the fact that there are only 16 women in city council,&rdquo; said Ald. Michele Smith (43rd).</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/cowlishaw-yourhighness.png" title="An excerpt from a 1993 transcript from an IL House of Representatives debate on whether to change the term ‘alderman’ to ‘alderperson’. Rep. Clem Balanoff-D introduced the bill. Rep. Mary Lou Cowlishaw-R supported it." /></p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">An official title and some pushback</span></p><p>According to the <a href="http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=&amp;ActID=802&amp;ChapterID=14&amp;SeqStart=35300000&amp;SeqEnd=36200000&amp;Print=True">Illinois Municipal Code</a>: &quot;In all cities incorporated under this Code there shall be elected a mayor, aldermen, a city clerk, and a city treasurer.&rdquo; Another state statute, <a href="http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=79&amp;ChapterID=2">which governs state statutes</a>, says: &quot;Words importing the masculine gender may be applied to females.&quot; Based on those two lines, <em>alderman</em> is the only legislative municipal title, and that&rsquo;s the case for all Illinois cities, not only Chicago.</p><p>And, the <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/dam/city/depts/ethics/general/Ordinances/GEO-DEC2011.pdf">city&rsquo;s own language </a>on the matter, tautological as it may be, mirrors that of the state: &ldquo;&lsquo;Alderman&rsquo; means any person holding the elected office of alderman of the city council.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/carrie austin crop.png" style="float: left;" title="Ald. Carrie Austin, who's advocated to use the term alderwoman. (Source: cityofchicago.org)" />That&rsquo;s not to say there hasn&rsquo;t been some pushback against the term. Some aldermen, like Bob Fioretti, say they&rsquo;ll use the terminology informally.</p><p>&ldquo;Well, I refer to them as alderwomen or aldermen,&rdquo; Fioretti said.</p><p>Still, the fact the official language is exclusionary bothers Alderwoman Carrie Austin of the far South Side.</p><p>&ldquo;I want all of the women that are part of the city council to sign onto legislation such as that. To change our name, our legal title as alderwoman. So that we can circulate in that manner as well,&rdquo; Austin said.</p><p>That&rsquo;s what Austin would like to see, but even she hasn&rsquo;t kick-started a legislative campaign. And doing so could be complicated, considering past attempts to get a gender neutral term on the Illinois books were fraught with trouble.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Harold Washington nominates an alderwoman</span></p><p>There were two fights waged to put &ldquo;alderwoman&rdquo; or &ldquo;alderperson&rdquo; into official use. (There&rsquo;s no spoiler alert warranted here: You already know both failed!)</p><p>In <a href="http://docs.chicityclerk.com/journal/1983/121683optimize.pdf">December 1983</a>, then Chicago Mayor Harold Washington nominated Dorothy Tillman to represent the 3rd Ward located on the South Side. At the time, the City Council was in the midst of the infamous &ldquo;<a href="http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/342.html">Council Wars</a>,&rdquo; in which dozens of aldermen vehemently opposed nearly everything Washington wanted to do.</p><p>Washington&rsquo;s opponents in the council blocked Tillman&rsquo;s nomination based on a single mistake in the appointment papers.</p><p>&ldquo;Harold Washington appointed me &lsquo;alderwoman&rsquo; of the 3rd Ward,&rdquo; Tillman said.</p><p>But the committee that considered nominations wouldn&rsquo;t have it, with the officially stated objection being that the use of the term &ldquo;alderwoman.&rdquo;</p><p>So on <a href="http://docs.chicityclerk.com/journal/1984/021584optimize.pdf">Feb. 15, 1984</a>, the mayor resubmitted the nomination, changing the word &quot;Alderwoman&quot; to &quot;Alderman.&quot; He noted that he was doing so in &quot;an effort to meet objections expressed by the chairman of that committee,&quot; referring to Rules Committee Chairman Frank Stemberk.</p><p>&ldquo;He [Washington] &nbsp;had to reappoint me as the alderman of the 3rd Ward,&rdquo; said Tillman, who took the seat the seat the following year and served until 2007. &ldquo;I wore the title of alderman proudly.&rdquo;</p><p>It&rsquo;s unclear whether this battle over Tillman&rsquo;s nomination rested on gender politics, or whether it was just collateral damage from the ongoing council wars, in which the friction often came down to race. Harold Washington was the city&rsquo;s first African-American mayor. Dorothy Tillman is African-American.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/balanoff%20png.png" title="An excerpt from a 1993 transcript from an IL House of Representatives debate on whether to change the term ‘alderman’ to ‘alderperson’. Rep. Clem Balanoff-D introduced the bill. " /></p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">The second coming &hellip; and losing</span></p><p>In 1984 the term &ldquo;alderwoman&rdquo; became political fodder, but later there was a direct challenge to the gender-specific title of alderman.</p><p>In 1993, then-state Rep. Clem Balanoff (D) introduced a bill that &quot;does nothing more than change the term &#39;alderman&#39; to &#39;alderperson&#39;, in making the term gender neutral,&quot; according to a <a href="http://www.ilga.gov/house/transcripts/htrans88/HT031093.pdf">transcript of the floor debate.</a></p><p>Balanoff recently explained that he introduced the bill because a female Chicago alderman had relayed how annoyed she was at the state law.</p><blockquote><p><a name="debate"></a>(Here&#39;s the full floor debate, re-enacted by WBEZ staffers. Clem Balanoff stars as himself!)</p></blockquote><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/150599511&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Balanoff imagined the title change would be a slam dunk, as it had already passed in committee.</p><p>&ldquo;It just seems like something that makes so much sense,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It doesn&rsquo;t bother anybody. It&rsquo;s not going to change state statute so big, it doesn&rsquo;t cost any money.&rdquo;</p><p>But the bill never made it out of the Illinois House; Republican leader Bill Black successfully argued against it during the floor debate.</p><p>&ldquo;Let&rsquo;s, for once in a rare moon, use a little common sense,&rdquo; Black told his fellow representatives. &ldquo;Let those people be referred to or called by whatever they want, by whatever body they represent. I implore you not to clutter the state&rsquo;s statutes. I urge a &lsquo;no&rsquo; vote.&rdquo;</p><p>Balanoff said after Republican Bill Black spoke, most of the GOP followed suit.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t want to say they follow lockstep, but it&rsquo;s pretty close,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Balanoff added that, after the no vote of 1993, he imagined he&rsquo;d bring the issue up again down the line. He never did.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/CoggsHead.jpg" style="float: right;" title="Ald. Milele Coggs, the only woman serving on Milwaukee's 15-member council. (Source: city.milwaukee.gov) " /><span style="font-size:22px;">Support for the word &ldquo;alderwoman&rdquo;?</span></p><p>While alderpersons or alderwomen aren&rsquo;t official terms in Illinois, they do exist in Wisconsin. In 1993, their state statutes were amended to refer to &ldquo;<a href="http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/62.pdf">alderpersons</a>.&rdquo; Just a few years before (1988), a rewrite of the <a href="http://city.milwaukee.gov/ImageLibrary/Groups/ccClerk/Ordinances/CH1.pdf">Milwaukee&rsquo;s city charter</a> officially recognized female council members as &ldquo;alderwomen.&rdquo;</p><p>That word has special significance to Milwaukee Alderwoman Milele Coggs, the only woman currently serving on the city&rsquo;s 15-member council.</p><p>&ldquo;For me to be called alderman, is to not give recognition to who or what I am, and although my gender is only part of what I am, it is part of me,&rdquo; Coggs said. &ldquo;Just like men who happen to serve as council members prefer to be called aldermen, I just prefer to be called alderwoman. It&#39;s recognition.&rdquo;</p><p>A handful of Chicago&#39;s suburbs use the term &quot;council member&quot; instead of alderman. Joliet, Wheaton and Naperville are among the suburbs that go as far as referring to members as &quot;councilman&quot; and &quot;councilwoman.&quot; No suburb with aldermen refer to female council members &quot;alderwomen.&quot;</p><p>But such a measure isn&rsquo;t likely to gather momentum anytime soon in Chicago. Few of the other aldermen interviewed for this piece suggested changing the word.<a name="toddmelby"></a></p><p>&quot;It personally doesn&#39;t make a difference to me how I&#39;m referred to,&quot; said Ald. Mary O&#39;Connor (41st). &quot;I worked really hard to become the alderman of the 41st Ward and I truly believe that there are more important issues for me to be advocating for than to change a title, so I&#39;m comfortable with being called alderman.&quot;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Todd%20Melby%20photo%20by%20Ben%20Garvin%20%28CREDIT%29.JPG" style="width: 270px; float: left; height: 194px;" title="Todd Melby, who asked us this question. (Photo by Ben Garvin)" /><span style="font-size:22px;">Our question comes from: Todd Melby</span></p><p>Todd Melby is an independent media producer based out of Minneapolis, a place where people on the City Council used to be addressed as &ldquo;alderman,&rdquo; but are now referred to as council members.</p><p>Melby said, &ldquo;As I guy, I usually don&rsquo;t encounter this gender-specific stuff. However, as a father, people often use the term &ldquo;mothering&rdquo; when I would parent my children, 20-25 years ago. When they were young there were lots of ads that talked about &lsquo;mothering&rsquo; as a synonym for parenting. So I guess I was kind of sensitive to that as a father who was a very involved parent.&rdquo;</p><p>(Editor&rsquo;s note: Todd Melby also heads up <a href="http://blackgoldboom.com/">Black Gold Boom</a>, a project which &mdash; like Curious City &mdash; was initiated by <a href="http://localore.net/">Localore </a>from the <a href="http://www.airmedia.org/">Association of Independents in Radio</a>.)</p><p><em>Tanveer Ali is a Chicago-based freelance journalist. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/tanveerali">@tanveerali</a>. Jennifer Brandel is Founder and Senior Producer of WBEZ&rsquo;s Curious City. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/JnnBrndl">@jnnbrndl</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 21 May 2014 12:38:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/alder-man-ia-why-chicago-hasnt-dumped-gender-exclusive-term-110215 Few studies explore the unique impacts of brain injuries on women http://www.wbez.org/sections/work/few-studies-explore-unique-impacts-brain-injuries-women-109257 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Women and Brain Injury.JPG" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-3032e98d-94e0-f421-1028-2a7d34e4089f">When we talk about brain injuries, we usually talk about men. The media&rsquo;s recent focus on this health issue has focused on male-dominated fields such as<a href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/sports/concussion-watch/concussion-watch-nfl-head-injuries-in-week-10/" target="_blank"> professional football </a>and the military.</p><p dir="ltr">Men are, in fact, far more likely to suffer brain injuries, but the numbers of women affected are nonetheless significant. <a href="http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-0-387-76908-0_4" target="_blank">Over 30 percent of brain-injury patients are women.</a> And little research has focused specifically on them &mdash; which could have big consequences for their recovery.</p><p dir="ltr">Betty Tobler wears her braids tied back in a low ponytail. She doesn&rsquo;t look like someone with a severe injury. But walking around her house, it is impossible not to notice the challenges she faces nearly every moment of her life.</p><p dir="ltr">The lights in her house are kept low, because bright lights give her headaches. There are wipe boards with dates scribbled on them in the kitchen and hallways. Thanksgiving is written in big letters, because she said, &ldquo;The holiday will come and go and I will never think about it.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">She has a book filled with information she does not want to forget. Her towels and potholders are all still in their packages. &ldquo;If you notice how clean my stove is. I don&rsquo;t cook. Because I could forget, and that could be dangerous,&rdquo; Tobler said. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Tobler&rsquo;s troubles began 14 years ago, when she was working as a caregiver for adults with mental disabilities. One of the clients had behavior issues, lost his temper, and got violent.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;He was, first of all, 6&rsquo;8&rdquo; with size 13 shoes, 300 some pounds. I remember the punches on this side, which is my right side. And I remember hitting the floor and then something coming down like that, so that was his foot stomping the side of my head,&rdquo; Tobler said.</p><p dir="ltr">Tobler stopped working. She stopped driving. She had trouble remembering recent details, and big chunks of her past. She said she only knows her mother, who died years before her injury, through pictures.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;And to be honest with you I didn&rsquo;t even knew who my dad was. It&rsquo;s like he was just a figure. Nothing made sense during that time,&rdquo; Tobler said.</p><p dir="ltr">In the nearly decade and a half since, attention to brain injuries has increased and more research has been done. Unfortunately, very little of it has focused on women.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s essential to include women, because if we are only including men, or primarily including men, we are coming to incorrect or potentially incorrect conclusions about how to treat women and what certain patterns of behavior mean,&rdquo; said <a href="https://faculty.utah.edu/u0030255-JANIECE_L_POMPA/research/index.hml" target="_blank">Janiece Pompa, clinical professor at the University of Utah. </a></p><p dir="ltr">Experts say the lack of research is not intentional. Since more men have brain injuries, more of them are studied. But some research suggests there are gender differences that are important to understand in order to improve treatment.</p><p dir="ltr">One study, for example, showed the<a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20469963" target="_blank"> big role hormones might play in recovery.</a>&nbsp;Other studies suggest <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23220341" target="_blank">women may experience more depression.</a> Another pointed to <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20469963" target="_blank">menstrual disturbances. </a></p><p dir="ltr">Pompa said a recent study focused on children who play soccer. &ldquo;It seems like girls actually have more severe head injuries than boys do. Which seems kinda disturbing, but valuable to know,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Pompa says a lot of the &nbsp;research is still in its early stages and a lot more is needed to draw good conclusions.</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/BrainInjuryAssn" target="_blank">Philicia Deckard</a> works for the<a href="http://www.biail.org/" target="_blank"> Brain Injury Association of Illinois.</a>&nbsp;She says the difficulties facing women with brain injuries is not just about research, but also about who gets diagnosed.</p><p dir="ltr">She says our society has gotten better about screening professional athletes and <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/04/us/04vets.html?ref=traumaticbraininjury&amp;gwh=164685F417EE4CFA677AF6A685CD7074" target="_blank">veterans,</a> but, &ldquo;We have to be mindful too of the segment of the population with domestic abuse. That&rsquo;s someone who could be undiagnosed. There are a lot more undiagnosed injuries than we know about.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Deckard&rsquo;s organization does outreach in shelters. She said even being shaken by a partner can bruise the brain. In a small survey of domestic violence survivors, <a href="http://www.biausa.org/tbims-abstracts/domestic-violence-related-mild-traumatic-brain-injuries-in-women" target="_blank">more than 60 percent reported signs of a brain injury.</a></p><p dir="ltr">Ginny Lazzara, a nurse who also works with the Brain Injury Association, said there is a reason brain injuries are called &ldquo;the invisible epidemic.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We have to understand that this goes way bigger than we would have ever imagined. There are so many people who have had brain injuries and been living with them and do not know that was why,&rdquo; said Lazzara.</p><p dir="ltr">Both Lazzara and Deckard say they are thankful for the attention professional athletes and veterans have brought to brain injuries. Now, they hope, the focus will expand. Betty Tobler hopes for that too.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I feel there is more focus toward brain injury because the men have contact sport, but there are women who play basketball, volleyball, or not even playing sports at all,&rdquo; said Tobler. &ldquo;You could be walking down the street the wrong way and hit your head. I feel there should be a lot of focus regarding brain injuries, period.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Tobler said maybe then, she and her injury won&rsquo;t be quite so invisible.</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/returning-work-after-brain-injury-109237">Read our first story on brain injuries, about workplace issues.&nbsp;</a></p><p><em>Shannon Heffernan is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her on Twitter&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/shannon_h" target="_blank">@shannon_h</a></em></p></p> Tue, 26 Nov 2013 08:44:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/sections/work/few-studies-explore-unique-impacts-brain-injuries-women-109257 Tackling the stigma of bisexuality http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-10/tackling-stigma-bisexuality-108978 <p><p><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/bisexual%20pride%20flag.jpg" title="(WIkipedia/Commons)" /></p><div><p dir="ltr">October is <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/01/october-1-lgbt-history-month_n_4013850.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices">LGBTQ History Month</a> &ndash; a time to honor gay rights pioneers of the past and celebrate the monumental progress that has been made. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">But prejudice against the &quot;B&quot; in LGBTQ, bisexuality, still holds a tremendous amount of power, as its legitimacy continues to be called into question in straight and queer communities alike.</p><p dir="ltr">People who identify as bisexual &ndash; that is, having an attraction to both genders, although not always simultaneously or equally &ndash; are often called liars, branded as promiscuous, or shamed into invisibility by those who don&#39;t understand how bisexuality could be anything more than a &quot;phase&quot; or a &quot;coverup.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr">A <a href="http://chicago.gopride.com/news/article.cfm/articleid/47341876">groundbreaking report</a> from the San Francisco Human Rights Commission has defined the bisexual &ldquo;erasure&rdquo; problem this way:</p><p dir="ltr">&quot;Bisexuals experience high rates of being ignored, discriminated against, demonized, or rendered invisible by both the heterosexual world and the lesbian and gay communities. Often, the entire sexual orientation is branded as invalid, immoral, or irrelevant. Despite years of activism, the needs of bisexuals still go unaddressed and their very existence is still called into question. This erasure has serious consequences on bisexuals&#39; health, economic well-being, and funding for bi organizations and programs.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr">Ultimately, bisexuality myths only serve to amplify stereotypes about people who don&#39;t settle at one end of the homo/hetero binary, while also perpetuating stigmas that keep &quot;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biphobia">biphobia</a>&quot; alive and well.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Myth 1: You&#39;re either gay, straight, or lying. </strong><strong>Bisexuality does not exist. </strong></p><p dir="ltr">In addition to being rude and presumptuous, this oft-used maxim is just flat out <a href="http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/09/21/1134808/-I-m-not-Gay-Straight-OR-Lying">wrong</a> in dismissing all bisexual people as wolves in sheep&#39;s clothing.</p><p dir="ltr">Granted, many bisexual individuals hold a preference. For example, I identify as bisexual, and while I hold a sexual attraction to both genders, I tend to be more romantically attracted to men. This is why I choose the term &ldquo;heteroromantic bisexual.&quot; Others may prefer another descriptor under the <a href="http://bidyke.tumblr.com/post/36276376222/new-bisexual-umbrella-d-i-needed-to-make-this">bisexual umbrella</a>, or choose not to label themselves at all.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Myth 2: Bisexuality is just one stage in the coming out process for gays and lesbians.</strong></p><p dir="ltr">Of course, some people do come out as bisexual before eventually coming out as gay or lesbian to their friends and family. But to stereotype all bisexuals as being in some phase of transition, or just &ldquo;experimenting&rdquo; before finally accepting themselves as exclusively gay or straight, is not only an unfair and prejudicial assumption, but a scientifically inaccurate one as well.</p><p dir="ltr">A number of studies, including those conducted by renowned sexologist Alfred Kinsey, have shown that sexuality is <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_orientation">fluid</a> and exists on a spectrum. In 1948, Kinsey&#39;s work &quot;Sexual Behavior in the Human Male&quot; found that &quot;46 percent of the male population had engaged in both heterosexual and homosexual activities, or &#39;reacted to&#39; persons of both sexes, in the course of their adult lives,&quot; which is just one example to make up the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinsey_scale">vast middle</a> that many of us occupy, but often feel too afraid to admit even to ourselves.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Myth 3: Bisexuality is okay for women, but not for men.</strong></p><p dir="ltr">This bias is deeply rooted in patriarchy, and the corresponding myth that women only pretend to be bisexual to attract men. The idea that bisexuality is more acceptable in women may also stem from the overwhelming visibility of woman-on-woman sexuality in comparison to men, especially in pornographic films, mainstream movies, and onstage at MTV award shows.</p><p dir="ltr">For example, Katy Perry&#39;s hit song &quot;I Kissed A Girl (And I Liked It)&quot; is a little racy, but hardly shocking enough to turn off a mainstream audience. However, would a man singing &ldquo;I Kissed A Boy (And I Liked It)&rdquo; in a similarly bisexual context be greeted with the same enthusiasm? &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Countless men both in and out of the public eye have proudly affirmed their bisexuality (and &quot;<a href="http://www.towleroad.com/2013/10/morrissey-im-not-gay-i-am-humansexual.html">humansexuality</a>,&quot; in Morrissey&#39;s case) over the years. Here are just a few:&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.bowiegoldenyears.com/articles/7609-playboy.html">David Bowie</a>, in a 1976 interview with Playboy:</p><p dir="ltr">&quot;It&#39;s true &ndash; I am a bisexual. But I can&#39;t deny that I&#39;ve used that fact very well. It&#39;s the best thing that ever happened to me.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/todayilearned/comments/1f52wp/til_billy_joe_armstrong_came_out_as_bisexual_in/">Billie Joe Armstrong</a>, in a 1995 interview with The Advocate:</p><p dir="ltr">&quot;I think I&#39;ve always been bisexual. I mean, it&#39;s something that I&#39;ve always been interested in. I think everybody kind of fantasizes about the same sex. I think people are born bisexual, and it&#39;s just that our parents and society kind of veer us off into this feeling of &#39;Oh, I can&#39;t.&#39; They say it&#39;s taboo. It&#39;s ingrained in our heads that it&#39;s bad, when it&#39;s not bad at all. It&#39;s a very beautiful thing.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/clive-davis-comes-out-in-new-memoir-20130219">Clive Davis</a>, in his 2013 memoir &quot;The Soundtrack of My Life&quot;:</p><p>&quot;After my second marriage failed, I met a man who was also grounded in music. Having only had loving relationships and sexual intimacy with women, I opened myself up to the possibility that I could have that with a male, and found that I could ...You don&#39;t only have to be one thing or the other. For me, it&#39;s the person.&quot;</p><p>Finally, to all who have been ostracized, invalidated, or shamed into silence because of your sexual orientation, especially those who have been told to &quot;pick a side&quot; or &quot;you can&#39;t have it both ways,&quot; know this: you&#39;re okay just the way you are. I promise.</p></div><p><em>Leah Pickett writes about popular culture for WBEZ. Follow her on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">@leahkpickett</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 25 Oct 2013 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-10/tackling-stigma-bisexuality-108978 Making Chicago a better place for women http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-09/making-chicago-better-place-women-108747 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Stephanie%20Valentina.jpg" title="(Flickr/Stephanie Valentina)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">A recent article in <em>The Atlantic</em>&#39;s <a href="http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2013/09/how-design-city-women/6739/" target="_blank">Cities</a> section, &quot;How to Design a City for Women,&quot; described how officials in Vienna, Austria began taking gender into account in public policy, specifically in urban planning.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">This process of &quot;gender mainstreaming&quot; began in the early 1990s, after administrators surveyed residents of the city&#39;s ninth district and discovered that women were using public transportation more frequently than men, and for more varied reasons. Since then, over 60 pilot projects have been carried out to give men and women equal access to city resources.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The ultimate goal of Vienna&#39;s gender mainstreaming project, which remains in effect today, is to ensure that all women are given the same opportunities to succeed in an urban environment as their male counterparts. According to Eva Kail, a <a href="http://www.difu.de/node/5949#1">gender expert</a> in the city&#39;s urban planning group, &quot;It&#39;s about bringing people into spaces where they didn&#39;t exist before, or felt they had no right to exist.&quot;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">But would such a gender-specific plan work in a city like Chicago?</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">As a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-06/how-growing-disney-shapes-gender-roles-107575" target="_top">gender role-eschewing</a> feminist with vivid memories of the &quot;For Her&quot; <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/30/bic-pen-for-her-amazon-reviews_n_1842991.html" target="_blank">Bic Pen fiasco</a>, I can see the criticism coming from a mile away. Shouldn&#39;t we design a city for <em>people</em>, not men and women? Wouldn&#39;t such a plan just reinforce steoreotypes of how men and women use public space? Or, to quote one frustrated Austrian opposed to the capitol&#39;s exhibit of Who Owns Public Space, &quot;Does this mean that we should paint the streets pink?&quot;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">To distance themselves from the idea that the project is about dividing people by gender, not bringing them together into spaces of equal opportunity, Viennese officials have begun to shy away from the term gender mainstreaming. Instead, they have opted for the label <a href="http://www.ashgate.com/isbn/9781409410249" target="_blank">&quot;Fair Shared City,&quot;</a> to reflect their goal of equality for all.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Obviously, Chicago is a drastically different city than Vienna. Also, certain discrepencies in lifestyle between Viennese men and women (for example, women using public transit more often and making more foot trips than men, mostly to run errands, take their children to school, and tend to their elders) do not directly align with the commutes of typical Chicago urbanites, many of whom are students or single and living independently.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Still, if Chicago officials did choose to implement a similar plan, what changes would we see?</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Ideally, the city would showcase more art and installations by female designers, artists and architects. Perhaps we could also design parks and children&#39;s spaces to be more gender-inclusive with a wider range of activities, or create more innovative housing to aid working mothers and families, like Vienna&#39;s <a href="http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2013/09/how-design-city-women/6739/" target="_blank">Women-Work-City</a>.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Designing&nbsp;a city with women in mind is not about building more shopping malls, planting more flowers or erecting a bizarre Marilyn Monroe statue for tourist <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-05-02/entertainment/ct-ent-0502-marilyn-appreciation-20120501_1_marilyn-monroe-statue-sculpture-foundation-melissa-farrell" target="_blank">upskirt shots</a>.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The key to understanding what women want is not rocket science: just&nbsp;<em>ask</em>. If city officials surveyed the women of Chicago, asking them about the struggles they face on a daily basis and what the city could do to better meet their needs, the answers might surprise them.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><em>Leah Pickett is a pop culture writer and co-host of WBEZ&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wbezs-changing-channels/id669715774?mt=2">Changing Channels,</a>&nbsp;a podcast about the future of television. Follow Leah on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">Twitter</a>&nbsp;and<a href="http://hermionehall.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">&nbsp;Tumblr</a>.</em></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></p> Tue, 24 Sep 2013 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-09/making-chicago-better-place-women-108747 First comprehensive transgender housing center in the nation opens in Chicago http://www.wbez.org/news/first-comprehensive-transgender-housing-center-nation-opens-chicago-108056 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Transgender.JPG" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">Reverend Stan Sloan sat in the freshly designed living room of the new <a href="http://www.chicagohouse.org/translife.html">TransLife Center</a>. &nbsp;As CEO of <a href="http://www.chicagohouse.org/">Chicago House</a> he spent years in this home, running it as an &nbsp;AIDS hospice, &ldquo;These beautiful wooden floors were covered with linoleum because we had IV drips and blood and everything that came with AIDS in the early days.&rdquo;</p><p>Sloan says thousands of gay men died with dignity in this home. Now he hopes it will help transgender people live with dignity. &nbsp;The center will provide housing, medical services, legal services, and employment training with many staff coming from the transgender community.</p><p>Mara Keisling founded the <a href="http://transequality.org/">National Center for Transgender Equality</a>. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s such an honor that now it&rsquo;s going to be dedicated to trans people, helping trans people.&rdquo;</p><p><a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0905154/">Lana Wachowski</a> attended the opening. She said she had observed transgender homelessness in her neighborhood. &ldquo;Often LGBT people, especially the T&rsquo;s, are in need of family,&rdquo; she said. &nbsp;Wachowski said that this center recognizes that family extends beyond just our blood and kin.</p><p>Stormie Williams cut the ribbon for the opening. She will be one of the first residents and has already found employment with help from the staff. &ldquo;I know there are more things to come,&rdquo; she said.</p><p><em>Shannon Heffernan is a reporter for WBEZ. Follow her at @<a href="https://twitter.com/shannon_h">shannon_h</a></em></p></p> Mon, 15 Jul 2013 16:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/first-comprehensive-transgender-housing-center-nation-opens-chicago-108056 The Hanna Rosin Interview http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-09/hanna-rosin-interview-102548 <p><p>Today I interview Hanna Rosin, the author of the fascinating and provocative new book <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/The-End-Men-Rise-Women/dp/1594488045">The End of Men: And the Rise of Women</a></em><em>, </em>which explores the shift in power dynamics between men and women and what it means for the future. Rosin is also a senior editor at <em>The Atlantic</em> and a founder and editor at <em><a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x.html">DoubleX</a></em>, Slate&#39;s women&#39;s section. You can learn much more about her <a href="http://hannarosin.com/">here</a>.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Hanna%20Rosin_%28c%29%20Nina%20Subin.jpeg" style="float: right; height: 461px; width: 300px; " title="Writer Hanna Rosin. (Photo by Nina Subin)" /><strong>After completing your book, did you consider changing your parenting tack in order to raise sons who not only do right by themselves but also do right by women (particularly after you worked on your &quot;<a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/09/boys-on-the-side/309062/">hookup culture</a>&quot; chapter)?</strong></p><p>My concern about raising my sons has more to do with teaching them to meet whatever demands school places on them without making them frustrated or miserable or think they have to be just like girls. I try to be realistic &mdash;&nbsp;I can&#39;t make my sons into people they&#39;re not. I think the &quot;William wants a doll&quot; fantasy of the &#39;70s is a proven failure. But I can&#39;t put my head in the sand and pretend that school does not demand a level of organization and verbal acuity that doesn&#39;t come 100 percent naturally to them. So I try and teach them to cultivate the skills they have &mdash; to nurture their inner secretary, as I put it. One example is I make a list for my son that he reads every morning of what he needs to do &mdash; put his lunch in his backpack, remember his PE shoes, etc. &mdash;&nbsp;in the hopes that eventually he&#39;ll internalize those organization skills.</p><p>As for the hook-up culture, I won&#39;t teach my sons and daughters differently on this front. Young people are aiming for different kinds of connections than I had, ones that aren&#39;t crude but aren&#39;t entirely settled, either. But at their best they are respectful. Here is what one woman I interviewed told me. As a guiding principle, I think it&#39;s not half bad:</p><p>&quot;We want a relationship of freedom &mdash; the freedom to be there for each other and available sexually when it suits the both of us, and also emotionally when it suits the both of us. We want it to be fun and maybe involve some dates and long talks over coffee. But we certainly don&#39;t want these &quot;relationships&quot; to be entered into with an expectation of long-term, or to get in the way of the other important things in our lives. Compatibility isn&#39;t even all that important. Amusement, affection, affirming attention, sexual fulfillment, the ever-elusive &quot;fun&quot; &mdash;&nbsp;that&#39;s what we&#39;re after. We (both women and men) are putting ourselves first. Some might call that selfish; we call it smart and independent and secure.&quot;</p><p><strong>You touch upon many pop culture references in the book. What are some of your personal favorite movies/TV shows/books that portray male/female relationships in a realistic yet progressive manner?</strong></p><p>We seem to have thankfully passed through the era of the Judd Apatow irresponsible man-child who needs to be rescued by his shrill girlfriend. One positive example right now is the NBC sit-com <em>Up All Night</em>, where Will Arnett plays a very respectable stay-at-home dad. His character started out as your usual doltish sitcom dad, watching hockey or playing video games when he was supposed to be taking care of the baby. But over time they have developed the character so he is a model of parental wisdom without being emasculated. He continues to take care of the baby and his wife still finds him sexy. (One complicating factor here is that Will Arnett and Amy Poehler just separated and tabloids have speculated that its because she is more successful than he is!)</p><p><strong>One issue that I find to be a stumbling block in terms of American women truly achieving their full potential is how much we actively buy into our own superficial deficiencies. Why do you think we have come so far in terms of earning more and demanding more rights yet we will still buy a magazine that promises us hope in a new outfit, product, diet or sex position?</strong></p><p>Arianna Huffington calls this enduring phenomenon our &quot;<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-firestone/evicting-the-obnoxious-ro_b_573816.html">inner obnoxious roommate</a>,&quot; the voice in our head always telling us our ankles are thick or our nose is too long or we&#39;re not smart enough or whatever. I don&#39;t think we will kill that voice off overnight. But here is one thing that gives me hope: Lately we&#39;ve been seeing more examples of male vanity: men tweezing and waxing and wearing makeup and demanding their own boutiques. And I really think this helps even the playing field. I think most women are of two minds about, say, dressing up: We enjoy it but then sometimes we find it oppressive. But when men are doing it too maybe we can share the burden, and relax and enjoy it!</p><p><strong>In your research and personal observations, do you believe competition between women (either on a higher, say, professional sense or in a more &quot;catty&quot; manner) is a bigger stumbling block than it is for men?</strong></p><p>Studies show that women are often harder on each other than they are on other men in the workplace. But I think this is a function of still being somewhat the underdogs. Women pick on other women because they are often afraid to take on the men. But as women become more prevalent in positions of power, they will become equal opportunity saboteurs!</p><p><strong>Your <a href="http://www.slate.com/authors.david_plotz.html">husband</a> will be &quot;interrogating&quot; you as part of your book tour. How much preparation do the two of you do before these appearances? Or do you like to keep the discussion a surprise until you&#39;re in front of the microphone?</strong></p><p>The night of my book launch my husband interrogated me at an event in D.C. We did not prepare at all, because he&#39;d been away on a work retreat and life and three kids, etc., and we just didn&#39;t have time. That night unfolded in a more goofy, spontaneous way. We repeated that event the following night in New York, and because we&#39;d had the dress rehearsal we were much more prepared and serious. Not sure which one was better.</p><p><strong>As a mother, how did you respond to the heavy emphasis placed on moms in both the Democratic and Republican conventions? Did it speak to you or did you find it pandering (or somewhere in-between)?</strong></p><p>I don&#39;t mind when women claim &quot;mom&quot; as their most important role but I really don&#39;t like Michelle Obama&#39;s term &quot;Mom-in-Chief.&quot; It&#39;s a little cheesy and condescending. In her spoken autobiography she never even mentioned her job! I find it all too retro, like a reaction against Hillary Clinton. Just because Ann Romney never did paid work it does not mean paid work is something to be embarrassed about!</p><p><strong>I read that you did not choose the title of the book. What alternates did you consider before&nbsp;<em>The End of Men&nbsp;</em>was selected?</strong></p><p>I didn&#39;t choose the title of the original <em>Atlantic</em> story on which the book is based. That title was chosen by the editors and I never saw it until it was on the newsstand. But over time that title came to be so closely associated with my argument that by the time the book was being published I wasn&#39;t considering another one. The title is obviously a blessing and a curse; it&#39;s provocative but it alienates many people and does not quite accurately represent the argument.</p><p><strong>In reading some of the reviews of the book and comments on your interviews, it&#39;s clear there is a wide segment of people who not only reject the concept of the book but even gender dialog in general. How do you try to engage readers who don&#39;t typically engage in this type of thinking?</strong></p><p>As I wrote, the title alone is enough to alienate people. And it is, frankly, quite off-putting, as it seems to be launching head on into phase next of the gender war. But I don&#39;t think the content of the book is all that inflammatory. Look, these shifts in gender dynamics are obviously underway. They affect our decisions on so many aspects of life &mdash;&nbsp;how we work, marry, have sex, go to school, raise our children. So I think it&#39;s really important to take stock of that. And the book is designed to help you navigate all those changes.</p><p><strong>Do you attempt to overcome gender stereotypes at home or let them fall into place where it&#39;s easiest? (There was one day, for instance, when I decided I needed to learn to hang a picture as well as my husband does, but eventually decided that if I hate doing that and he loves it, then so be it.)</strong></p><p>Well, my youngest son plays almost exclusively with cars and trucks. My older son is a born computer programmer. And my daughter sits and reads most of the day. So I haven&#39;t done a good job of upending gender stereotypes there. As for me and my husband, we both work, we both love to cook, we both play on soccer teams. He does most of the picture hanging but I&#39;ve painted a few walls. Does that count?</p><p><strong>I saw that there is an upcoming <a href="http://www.bu.edu/phpbin/calendar/event.php?id=125548&amp;cid=44&amp;oid=3">conference at the&nbsp;Boston&nbsp;University&nbsp;Law&nbsp;Center&nbsp;</a>debunking your book. What are the most intriguing rebuttals to your book that you&#39;ve seen thus far?</strong></p><p>The Boston Law conference is not about debunking but about &quot;evaluating.&quot; That was actually set up before the book came out and I am greatly looking forward to it, as some of the academics I respect the most are speaking there. I think the most intriguing rebuttals push me on the tone of the book. People are not clear whether I feel triumphant about this change or not. The truth is that I feel hopeful about some things and despairing about others. It&#39;s obviously not great that many men are having trouble adjusting the post manufacturing era and that many more women are raising children alone. It is positive, however, that both men and women can choose from a greater array of gender roles.</p><p><strong>Between <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/07/american-murder-mystery/306872/">crime</a>, politics and gender, you cover some serious material. What do you read, write or otherwise partake in, pop-culture wise, when you need to rest your brain?</strong></p><p>I read a lot of novels. I just finished <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-08/gillian-flynn-interview-101906">Gillian Flynn</a>&#39;s <em>Gone Girl</em> and am looking forward to reading Junot Diaz&#39; new novel, <em>This is How You Lose Her</em>, next. I&#39;m back into <em>Project Runway</em> this season because my daughter loves it and am looking forward to <em>Homeland</em> starting up again in the fall.</p><p><strong>From your years on the debate team, what were some of the most difficult topics you found yourself defending/attacking?</strong></p><p>Funny, I just visited my old debate partner recently after he got married, and we were remembering old times. The hardest thing was that the debate circuit did not take women all that seriously and a lot of our judges were often Southern so I had to walk a fine line between being the NY killer I wanted to be and not putting off the judges.</p><p><strong>Your dad was <a href="http://nymag.com/news/articles/reasonstoloveny/2011/cab-drivers/">a&nbsp;New York&nbsp;cabbie</a>.&nbsp;How much is appropriate to tip a cab driver?</strong></p><p>Always tip A LOT, like at least 25 percent. And don&#39;t pay with a credit card. The cabbies hate that.</p><p><strong>How does it feel to be the 327th person interviewed for Zulkey.com/WBEZ.org?</strong></p><p>Probably much like it feels to be the 328<sup>th</sup> person.</p></p> Fri, 21 Sep 2012 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-09/hanna-rosin-interview-102548 Worldview 6.7.12 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-06/worldview-6712-99895 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP070418012749.jpg" title="Soccer fans in Poland react to news that Poland and Ukraine would co-host the 2012 European Championship. (AP/Piotr Hawalej, file)" /></div><p>Thursday on <em>Worldview</em>:</p><p>Poland and Ukraine will co-host the 2012 European Championships. Sixteen teams will battle it out on the soccer field, but there&#39;s growing concern potential violence off the field. The two host countries are under scrutiny because of some fans&#39; racist behavior at their soccer matches.</p><p><em>Worldview</em> talks with Michael Madero, assistant coach for the University of Chicago&#39;s men&#39;s soccer team. As a soccer player in Eastern Europe during the early &#39;90s, he saw the fan bases of these two countries up-close.</p><p>Then, Argentina&#39;s new gender identity law went into effect this week. Said to be the first of its kind, it allows individuals to legally change their gender without any kind of medical procedure. The Associated Press&rsquo; Michael Warren joins us from Buenos Aires to explain the circumstances that made the law possible.</p><p>Finally, &quot;Bike to Work Week&quot; starts this Saturday June 8. WBEZ team leader Jerome McDonnell and his former nemesis, Sarah Dandelles from the Old Town School of Folk Music, confront last year&#39;s winner and new nemesis, The Center for Neighborhood Technology, represented by Kathryn Eggers.</p></p> Thu, 07 Jun 2012 10:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-06/worldview-6712-99895 Survey reveals many Japanese are skipping sex http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-01-18/survey-reveals-many-japanese-are-skipping-sex-95620 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2012-January/2012-01-18/japan2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In Japan, not much is happening between the sheets in many marriages. And it’s not necessarily that different for single people, either.</p><p>According to a recent government survey on attitudes toward sex and marriage, one in four unmarried Japanese men has never ever had sex. Twenty five percent of women between 35 and 39 have also never had sex.</p><p>Chie Ohlsson is originally from Kobe, Japan but moved to the U.S. in 1999. She's married to an American but makes frequent trips back to Japan for her marketing job. Chie tells <em>Worldview</em> why the government's findings don't really surprise her.</p></p> Wed, 18 Jan 2012 16:29:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-01-18/survey-reveals-many-japanese-are-skipping-sex-95620