WBEZ | gender http://www.wbez.org/tags/gender Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Research shows the brain is unisex http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-12-17/research-shows-brain-unisex-114196 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/male female brain.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>There are tests on the internet to help people determine if they have a male or female brain. These tests are based on the assumption that male and female brains are inherently different. But a <a href="http://www.pnas.org/content/112/50/15468">study recently published</a> in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concludes that brains can&#39;t be classified in the binary categories of male or female.</p><p>We speak with <a href="http://people.socsci.tau.ac.il/mu/daphnajoel/">Daphna Joel</a>, one of the study&rsquo;s researchers and head of the psychobiology program at Tel Aviv University, about how they reached their conclusion and why it&rsquo;s significant.</p></p> Thu, 17 Dec 2015 12:18:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-12-17/research-shows-brain-unisex-114196 Discovery from 3,500 years ago challenges gender roles http://www.wbez.org/news/discovery-3500-years-ago-challenges-gender-roles-113758 <p><div style="text-align: justify;"><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/pylos_embed2.jpg" style="height: 349px; width: 620px;" title="One of more than 45 seal stones found within the tomb, each bearing intricate designs. Long-horned bulls and, sometimes, human bull jumpers leaping over their horns are a common relief from the Minoan period. (Credit: Jennifer Stevens)" /></div><div><article about="/stories/2015-11-12/discovery-3500-years-ago-challenges-gender-roles" typeof="sioc:Item foaf:Document"><div><p style="text-align: justify;">Husband-and-wife archaeologist team Jack Davis and Sharon Stocker have just made the biggest archaeological discovery of its kind in at least half a century.</p></div><p style="text-align: justify;">&ldquo;It was kind of a combination of expertise and dumb luck,&rdquo; says Jack Davis, &ldquo;We were not planning to excavate in this area.&rdquo;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Davis and his wife Stocker, both archaeologists from the University of Cincinnati, had been trying to purchase a plot of land near the ancient city of Pylos in southwestern Greece.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" draggable="true" src="http://cdn1.pri.org/sites/default/files/styles/gallery_image/public/pylos_embed1.jpg?itok=s77Nihmr" style="height: 539px; width: 400px;" title="University of Cincinnati's Sharon Stocker, left, and Jack Davis led a team of 45 archaeologists and experts in various specialties, as well as students, during this summer's excavations in Pylos, Greece. (University of Cincinnati, Pylos Excavations)" typeof="foaf:Image" /></p><div style="text-align: justify;">When plans for that purchase fell through, they turned instead to an adjacent property - a plot located near where the Palace of Nestor, long since destroyed, was built.&nbsp;</div><p style="text-align: justify;">Stocker and Davis first cleared brush away from the plot of land. Then, they and their team noticed five stones above the surface of the earth. At first they thought it was the corner of a Bronze Age house. Then, after some digging, Davis got a phone call: &ldquo;We hit bronze,&rdquo; the area supervisor said.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><img alt="" draggable="true" src="http://cdn1.pri.org/sites/default/files/styles/gallery_image/public/pylos_embed3.jpg?itok=MKbKnbio" style="height: 349px; width: 620px;" title="An elaborate necklace decorated with ivy leaves and measuring more than thirty inches long was found near the neck of the warrior’s skeleton. (Jennifer Stephens)" typeof="foaf:Image" /></p><p style="text-align: justify;">Davis and Stocker rushed back to the site.</p><img alt="" draggable="true" src="http://cdn1.pri.org/sites/default/files/styles/gallery_image/public/pylos_embed5.jpg?itok=_rmqLk5o" style="text-align: center; height: 509px; width: 300px; float: left; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="An illustration of the contents and arrangement of the excavated tomb. (Denitsa Nenova)" typeof="foaf:Image" /><p style="text-align: justify;">What&nbsp;had been discovered was the ancient tomb of a warrior who was buried with a sword and a trove of jewelry some 35 centuries ago.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">He likely died &ldquo;several centuries before the time that Homer was writing about, which I think makes it all the more spectacular,&rdquo; Stocker says, &ldquo;This could have been perhaps even the founder of the dynasty Later Nestor who ruled at Pylos.&quot;&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">In the warrior&rsquo;s grave the archaeologists&nbsp;found a sword, a gold-hilted dagger, and more than 45 seal stones, each bearing intricate designs like long-horned bulls and human bull jumpers.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" draggable="true" src="http://cdn1.pri.org/sites/default/files/styles/gallery_image/public/Picture35.jpg?itok=NF0tV1Ss" style="text-align: center; height: 372px; width: 620px;" title="One of six ivory combs discovered in the tomb by Sharon Stocker and Jack Davis (University of Cincinnati, Pylos Excavations)" typeof="foaf:Image" /></p><p style="text-align: justify;">There were also several combs, a mirror, and an elaborate necklace decorated with ivy leaves near&nbsp;the skeleton&rsquo;s neck.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">The discovery is changing the way archaeologists are interpreting ancient graves, and ancient civilization.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&ldquo;Up until now people have speculated that certain artifacts can be ascribed to a particular gender,&rdquo; Stocker says, &ldquo;But now we have one man buried with objects that&nbsp;until now&nbsp;have been thought of as female artifacts. He had six combs, he had a bronze mirror, he had beads, he had necklaces. He had all of these things, and so we&#39;ve learned from this burial that the grave goods now cannot necessarily be attributed along gender lines. That&#39;s one thing that I find really exciting.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><img alt="" draggable="true" src="http://cdn1.pri.org/sites/default/files/styles/gallery_image/public/pylos_embed4.jpg?itok=MFE_-iwg" style="text-align: center; height: 477px; width: 620px;" title="Sharon Stocker with the 3,500 year-old skull found in the warrior's tomb. (University of Cincinnati, Pylos Excavations)" typeof="foaf:Image" /></p><p style="text-align: justify;">Stocker and Davis say they have a lot of work ahead of them to continue studying their discovery.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="text-align: center;">&ldquo;Probably for the rest of our lives will be working on this amazing find. It&#39;s something to look forward to,&rdquo;&nbsp;</span><span style="text-align: center;">Stocker says.&nbsp;</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><em>This&nbsp;<a href="http://www.studio360.org/story/the-things-they-carried-in-1500-bc/" target="_blank">story</a>&nbsp;first aired on PRI&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="http://www.studio360.org/" target="_blank">Studio 360</a>&nbsp;with Kurt Andersen.</em></p></article></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 12 Nov 2015 13:34:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/discovery-3500-years-ago-challenges-gender-roles-113758 Sexual harassment case shines light on science's dark secret http://www.wbez.org/news/sexual-harassment-case-shines-light-sciences-dark-secret-113378 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/10578743305_4cb163b81d_z.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="(flickr/Canadian Film Centre)" /></div><p>A sexual harassment case is sending shock waves through the scientific community this week, and raising questions nationwide about how common sexual harassment is in science and why so little is typically done to stop it.</p><p>A six-month investigation by the University of California, Berkeley concluded in June that a faculty member, renowned astronomer Geoffrey Marcy, violated multiple sexual harassment policies over the course of a decade.</p><p>Marcy has been a leader in the hunt for Earth-like planets beyond our solar system, was head of a $100 million&nbsp;<a href="http://www.breakthroughinitiatives.org/">project</a>&nbsp;aimed at finding life on other planets, and has often been touted as a possible candidate for the Nobel Prize.</p><p>But he resigned Wednesday after a number of faculty members and students in his department publicly released letters condemning his alleged inappropriate behavior with students, and the university&#39;s inadequate response in dealing with it.</p><p>Marcy hasn&#39;t responded to NPR&#39;s request for an interview. He denies some of the allegations, but he posted a public&nbsp;<a href="http://w.astro.berkeley.edu/~gmarcy/MarcyLetter_October7.pdf">apology</a>&nbsp;&quot;for mistakes I&#39;ve made&quot; on his faculty website.</p><p>The school had kept its investigation private &mdash; even from its own faculty &mdash; until the online news outlet BuzzFeed&nbsp;<a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/azeenghorayshi/famous-astronomer-allegedly-sexually-harassed-students">broke</a>&nbsp;the story last week.</p><p>Aside from stating that &quot;Marcy violated campus sexual harassment policy,&quot; the university released no details about&nbsp;what the investigation found. But according to BuzzFeed, the report concluded that Marcy&#39;s offensive behavior included unwanted massages, kissing and groping of at least four students, from 2001 to 2010.</p><p>One of these students was&nbsp;<a href="http://space.mit.edu/people/ballard-sarah">Sarah Ballard</a>, now a postdoctoral fellow in astronomy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She first met Marcy a decade ago when she was an undergraduate at Berkeley. He taught her astronomy class and showed special interest in her career, she tells NPR.</p><p>&quot;To have a really renowned scientist praise you &mdash; and praise your ability &mdash; you can imagine, was really encouraging to me,&quot; she says.</p><p>At first, she and Marcy met a few times at cafes around campus, where they talked about astronomy and her career. But sometimes, she says, the conversation became too personal. He talked about when he was young, having sex with a former girlfriend.</p><p>Then one day, Marcy gave Ballard a ride home. He parked the car by her house. &quot;The fact that we were in the car together suddenly made me feel really uncomfortable,&quot; she says. &quot;I think I really realized that the tenor of the mood was really wrong.&quot;</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/geoff-marcy-29b56e73dabcdde49c9b7d94c9b5010e57f3f05f-s1200.jpg" style="height: 405px; width: 540px;" title="Astronomer Geoffrey Marcy, shown here at a scientific conference in 2015, resigned Wednesday from his faculty position at the University of California, Berkeley. (Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for Breakthrough Initiatives)" /></p><p>As Ballard started to get out of the car, the professor &quot;reached over and was rubbing the back of my neck,&quot; she says. She left the car &mdash; and stopped getting together with Marcy outside of class.</p><p>Ballard says she was afraid to report Marcy. She didn&#39;t want to hurt her chances of going to graduate school. It&#39;s a common and very real conundrum for many women hoping to pursue university research careers, says&nbsp;<a href="http://evmed.asu.edu/katie-hinde">Katie Hinde</a>, a biologist at Arizona State University.</p><p>&quot;Academia has a particular climate that allows sexual harassment, sexual assault and sexual abuses to persist,&quot; Hinde tells NPR. Last year, she co-authored one of the few studies aimed at figuring out how common sexual harassment is in science.</p><p>Hinde and her colleagues&nbsp;<a href="http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0102172">surveyed</a>&nbsp;roughly 500 women doing fieldwork in a range of scientific disciplines. Seventy percent of those women told the researchers they had experienced sexual harassment, often from their mentors or supervisors &mdash; &quot;people who had power over their career, who had power over their research,&quot; Hinde says.</p><p>In science, letters of recommendation from mentors are particularly crucial to obtaining a coveted faculty position, Hinde says. When a mentor sexually harasses or assaults a woman, it backs her into a corner: She can either report the offense, and possibly hurt her career. Or she can try to ignore it.</p><p>In fact, most harassment is never reported, says&nbsp;<a href="http://www.awis.org/?page=awis_staff">Heather Metcalf</a>, research director of the Association for Women in Science.</p><p>Women are often told to keep quiet about lewd comments, touching and leering, she says. &quot;There is a bit of a norm for those behaviors to sort of be brushed off, rather than be taken seriously.&quot;</p><p>An incident last summer involving the prestigious journal&nbsp;<em>Science&nbsp;</em>shows how common this attitude is, Metcalf says. A young female scientist wrote to the journal&#39;s advice column, asking what she should do about a situation in the lab where she worked.</p><p>&quot;She was really enjoying the scientific work she was doing, but she was feeling really uncomfortable because she kept catching her supervisor trying to take a peek down her blouse,&quot; Metcalf says.</p><p>The magazine columnist essentially advised the woman to say nothing &mdash; to turn a blind eye, Metcalf says.&nbsp;<em>Science&nbsp;</em>eventually retracted the column.</p><p>But the culture of keeping silent about sexual harassment continues.</p><p>In Marcy&#39;s case, it took years of complaints before the university took up its investigation. Then it disciplined him privately.</p><p>The university, which declined an interview with NPR, confirmed in a written statement that Marcy was told to follow strict behavior guidelines or &quot;be immediately subject to sanctions that could include suspension or dismissal.&quot; This agreement was the &quot;most certain and effective option for preventing any inappropriate future conduct,&quot; according to the statement.</p><p><a href="http://www.eisenlab.org/eisen/?page_id=9">Michael Eisen</a>, a molecular biologist at Berkeley, says the school didn&#39;t go far enough.</p><p>&quot;In essence the university convicted him,&quot; Eisen says, &quot;and what was so stunning to me was that Marcy got, at best, something you would describe as a slap on the wrist.&quot;</p><p>By not punishing him, Eisen says, &quot;they&#39;re all but ensuring this kind of behavior is going to continue from others. Basically they&#39;re saying there are no consequences for this type of behavior.&quot;</p><p>In the days since the news got out, many scientists have demanded consequences.</p><p>Thousands of scientists have signed an online&nbsp;<a href="https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1cmFVBKgxybJ874bjA3XdsjtUaddKFalgXcmJLzN7deA/viewform?c=0&amp;w=1&amp;fbzx=6291083879266593521">petition</a>&nbsp;supporting the women who accused Marcy of harassment. And 24 faculty members in the department of astronomy at Berkeley signed and released a letter Monday that said, in part, &quot;We believe that Geoff Marcy cannot perform the functions of a faculty member.&quot;</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/10/16/448944541/sexual-harrassment-case-shines-light-on-sciences-dark-secrect?ft=nprml&amp;f=448944541" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Fri, 16 Oct 2015 13:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/sexual-harassment-case-shines-light-sciences-dark-secret-113378 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