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posticon Trans people #WontBeErased

Today is October 29, 2018, so it's already over a week since the U.S. presidential administration released its proposed rule for legally defining sex as biological under Title IX. I know this has many trans people and allies worried, and for good reason--but I also want to share some hope from Mara Kiesling, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality.
"In the name of preempting some misinformation, let’s talk about what this proposed rule would not do. It would not eliminate the precedents set by dozens of federal courts over the last two decades affirming the full rights and identities of transgender people. It would not undo the consensus of the medical providers and scientists across the globe who see transgender people, know transgender people, and urge everyone to accept us for who we are. And no rule—no administration—can erase the experiences of transgender people and our families. While foolish, this proposed rule deflates itself in the face of the facts, and the facts don’t care how the Trump administration feels."
Here's a link to her full statement: https://transequality.org/press/releases/in-response-to-the-new-york-times-october-21-story-trump-administration-eyes-defining?fbclid=IwAR3dDuK5mEVMv-STijY2jqOFRA4rBCoMFqEMO3W9ODeI9BeLfijkVpwlT3M

posticon Dangers and Pitfalls of Online Therapy -- Posted September 6, 2018 in Vice News

Since you're looking at my website, you may be considering therapy and trying to choose between getting therapy in person, and getting therapy online. Here's an excellent article written by Boulder, CO psychologist Dana Charatan that explains the dangers and pitfalls of online therapy, and published in Vice News: https://tonic.vice.com/en_us/article/gy344w/a-psychologists-take-on-why-online-therapy-isnt-as-effective-as-the-real-thing

posticon Men Won't Talk About Depression, But Will They Use Apps? -- posted September 6, 2018 by CNET

Here's an interesting article in CNET that talks about men's hidden depression, and about the pros and cons of available mobile apps that could help. "Men are less likely than women to discuss mental health issues and far more likely to attempt suicide. Can mobile apps help men save their own lives?" You can read the article here: https://www.cnet.com/news/men-wont-talk-about-depression-and-its-literally-killing-them/

posticon Joint Public Statement by Psychology Groups on U.S. Immigration Policies and Practices, July 3, 2018

I'm appalled at the current U.S. immigration policies on so many levels. I'm proud that many psychology organizations have taken a strong stand against the policies, and pleased to bring to your attention one such statement, which is very powerful. Here are the first two paragraphs of the statement:
As psychology groups committed to social justice, we find it necessary to comment on the ongoing and ever-changing policies that serve to dehumanize immigrants, asylum-seekers, and their families in the U.S. Although the June 20, 2018 executive order halts the unconscionable practice of separating immigrant children from their parents, it is critical that the current Administration take the necessary steps to expeditiously reunite those families that have already suffered separation, and acknowledge and respond to the pain and suffering these cruel immigration practices have created on families and communities.
At the core, we strongly stand against any policy that criminalizes parents fleeing poverty, violence, and political persecution in search of a safe and better life for their children and that is more frequently resulting in immoral “zero-tolerance” practices.
You can read the whole statement here: http://helenneville1.wixsite.com/website-1.

posticon Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference

The Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference will take place July 23-25, 2020 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Center City Philadelphia. Registration opens this coming spring; the registration deadline will be July 17, 2020. This is a wonderful conference for trans people, allies, and providers, so if you are anywhere on the spectrum of gender queer, or if you love or work with someone who is, I highly recommend going to this conference. This conference strives to educate and empower trans individuals, allies, and providers on issues of health and well-being. Click here to learn more and register: https://web.cvent.com/event/64535734-3ab3-4aca-a0ee-0352fff0b806/summary

posticon The "dominant biomedical narrative of depression" is based on "biased and selective use of research outcomes"

I have long held the perspective that psychological distress comes more from environmental factors such as maltreatment, abuse, oppression, victimization, etc, than from biological factors such as brain chemical imbalances. And I also practice Nonviolent Communication, a philosophy that everyone's needs matter (and distress arises from unmet needs). So I enjoyed reading this article from The Guardian titled "Is everything you think you know about depression wrong?" by Johann Hari: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/jan/07/is-everything-you-think-you-know-about-depression-wrong-johann-hari-lost-connections. Here's his concluding paragraph: "If you are depressed and anxious, you are not a machine with malfunctioning parts. You are a human being with unmet needs. The only real way out of our epidemic of despair is for all of us, together, to begin to meet those human needs – for deep connection, to the things that really matter in life."

posticon Interesting take on distinction between pleasure and happiness

A friend of mine drew my attention to this interview with Dr. Robert Lustig about his new book, The Hacking of the American Mind. Dr. Lustig, an endocrinologist at University of California at San Francisco, has an interesting take on health, concerning the difference between pleasure and happiness, and discusses how corporate lies and propaganda about food affect us. It's a half-hour video, well worth watching, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKkUtrL6B18.

posticon For activists/citizens: Get ourselves in good shape for the long haul

I know a lot of us are distressed about current events in our country and the world. If you're like me, you’re getting tons of requests to act: sign a petition, give money, or show up at an action. I know those are important -- but to be in shape for the long haul, we have to get our minds and spirits ready, as well as jump into action.

Yesterday, 3/16/2017, I was fortunate to find out about an resource that can help us do just that. It's the website www.findingsteadyground.com by an activist named Daniel Hunter. He offers seven behaviors to help keep us grounded and in motion, so we can replenish our power in these difficult times. For example:
1. I will make a conscious decision about when and where I'll get news — and what I'll do afterwards.
2. I will get together with some people face-to-face to support each other and make sure we stay in motion.
I think these ideas will help me so I signed up at the website to get reminders and encouragement. I think these ideas might help you as well, so I encourage you to visit www.findingsteadyground.com.

As we stand against all forms of oppression and injustice, it is timely to recall what Rabbi Hillel the Elder said 2000 years ago: If I am not for myself, who will be for me?  If I am only for myself, what am I?  If not now, when? 

posticon Inspiring article about hope in these difficult times

Today, 2/4/2017, I just finished reading an article by Rebecca Solnit called "Grounds for Hope" in the Winter 2017 issue of Tikkun Magazine. It's actually a reprint of the foreword to the 3rd edition of her book Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities. I found this article so inspiring! So I'd like to share some excerpts that particularly enlightened or moved me.

"Your opponents would love you to believe that it's hopeless, that you have no power, that there's no reason to act, that you can't win. Hope is a gift you don't have to surrender, a power you don't have to throw away. And though hope can be an act of defiance, defiance isn't enough reason to hope. But there are good reasons."

"It's important to say what hope is not: it is not the belief that everything was, is, or will be fine. The evidence is all around us of tremendous suffering and tremendous destruction. The hope I'm interested in is about broad perspectives with specific possibilities, ones that invite or demand that we act. It's also not a sunny everything-is-getting-better narrative, though it may be a counter to the everything-is-getting-worse narrative."

"Hope locates itself in the premises that we don't know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act. ... Hope is an embrace of the unknown and the unknowable... It's the belief that what we do matters even though how and when it may matter, who and what it may impact, are not things we can know beforehand. We may not, in fact, know them afterward either, but they matter all the same, and history is full of people whose influence was most powerful after they were gone."

"Hope is only a beginning; it's not a substitute for action, only a basis for it."

"People in official institutions devoutly believe they hold the power that matters, though the power we grant them can often be taken back; the violence commanded by governments and militaries often fails, and nonviolent direct-action campaigns often succeed. The sleeping giant is one name for the public; when it wakes up, when we wake up, we are no longer only the public: we are civil society, the superpower whose nonviolent means are sometimes, for a shining moment, more powerful than violence, more powerful than regimes and armies... And yet, of course, everything in the mainstream media suggests that popular resistance is ridiculous, pointless, or criminal, unless it is far away, was long ago, or, ideally, both. These are the forces that prefer the giant remain asleep. Together we are very powerful, and we have a seldom-told, seldom-remembered history of victories and transformations that can give us confidence that yes, we can change the world because we have many times before. You row forward looking back, and telling this history is part of helping people navigate toward the future... The past is set in daylight, and it can become a torch we can carry into the night that is the future."

In case you'd like to read the whole piece, I found the full text of the Foreword at this website: http://www.londonreviewbookshop.co.uk/blog/2016/9/hope-in-the-dark---rebecca-solnit

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