The Shifting Global Terrain of L.G.B.T.Q. Rights – The New York Times

In Botswana, one of several countries with laws from British colonial era rule, a hearing is imminent that will challenge a law banning same-sex sexual activity that can result in up to seven years in prison. Anna Mmolai-Chalmers, coordinator of Legabibo, a member of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, or I.L.G.A., in Botswana that co-hosted the Pan Africa I.L.G.A. regional conference in Gaborone earlier this month, said the success of a recent suit granting a transgen

Source: The Shifting Global Terrain of L.G.B.T.Q. Rights – The New York Times

Czech Republic To Be First Post-Communist Nation With Gay Marriage

 

PRAGUE:  The Czech government on Friday backed draft legislation that would make the country the first post-communist member of the European Union to legalise same-sex marriage.

The legislation was drawn up by a group of 46 mostly leftist and centrist members of parliament from six of the nine parties in the lower house, including the populist ANO (Yes) party of billionaire Prime Minister Andrej Babis.

Alongside its “agreement with the bill”, the government also called for “a broad social discussion” of the “sensitive subject” of same-sex marriage in a Friday statement.Source: Czech Republic To Be First Post-Communist Nation With Gay Marriage

Transgender People’s Brain Structures Are Different From Cisgender Folks’, Study Suggests

While magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has been used to study sex differences by observing the structure of the brain, the morphology has rarely been explored in transgender women (i.e. assigned male at birth) diagnosed with gender dysphoria.

In a recent study, researchers from the Medical School of the University of São Paulo, Brazil, decided to investigate this by recruiting 80 participants between the ages of 18 and 49 years. They were categorized into four groups of 20 members each: cisgender women, cisgender men, transgender women who had never used hormones, and transgender women who had used hormones for at least a year. MRI scans were then used to look for differences in gray and white matter volume of the brains.

It was revealed that both groups of transgender women had variations in the volume of the insula in both hemispheres. The insula is a region of the brain that reads the physiological state of the body, thus being responsible for body image and self-awareness.

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Source: Transgender People’s Brain Structures Are Different From Cisgender Folks’, Study Suggests

Gender confirmation surgery improves transgender people’s lives, research confirms – The Verge

Gender confirmation surgeries can improve the quality of life of transgender people, according to new research.

Researchers in Germany followed 156 patients who underwent male-to-female transition surgery at the University Hospital Essen. The patients’ well-being was assessed using a variety of questionnaires, including one developed by the researchers specifically for transgender people. After surgery, 75 percent were more strongly satisfied with their lives, and 67 percent were satisfied with their outer appearance as a woman. The findings, which were presented last weekend at the 33rd European Association of Urology conference in Denmark, suggests that gender confirmation surgery can be valuable for certain patients.

More:  – The Verge

Rulings in favor of Title VII protections for LGBT workers on the rise

New rulings from federal appeals courts that have found an existing civil rights law against sex discrimination also prohibits anti-LGBT discrimination are shaking up the landscape for protections for LGBT people in the workplace.

In the past month, two circuit courts — the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals — have determined Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars discrimination on the basis of sex in the workplace, applies to LGBT people.

The Second Circuit found the anti-gay discrimination is a form of sex discrimination in the case against Altitude Express in New York filed by Donald Zarda, a gay now deceased skydiver. That decision made the Second Circuit one of two circuits where sexual-orientation discrimination is unequivocally prohibited under federal law, complementing a decision from the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals last year.

Source: Rulings in favor of Title VII protections for LGBT workers on the rise

THE 14th ANNUAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE AFRICA LIBERAL NETWORK

The Africa Liberal Network (ALN), Africa’s largest affiliation of liberal political parties, met in Accra, Ghana from 2 to 4 March 2018 for their 14th annual General Assembly meeting. This year we were graciously hosted by ALN member party, the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) of Ghana, where they helped us welcome member parties from 24 African countries, and partners from various European countries. Delegates met in their annual meeting to discuss ALN matters as well as the theme of this year’s General Assembly:

“More Freedom & Fairness: The Pursuit of Growing Africa’s Economy”.

It is apt that we met in West Africa, with countries where liberals govern on a national or regional basis, such as in Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire act as shining examples of the opportunities and prosperity which can be created and sustained by liberalism in action. We live in a world where the liberal democratic values and the institutions that uphold it is under constant threat. This is a challenge to regional and global cooperation, human rights, and liberal values of tolerance, peace, and justice. Nevertheless, African liberals have a unique opportunity to continue to rise against the tide and provide beacons of hope for the globe. The role of opposition parties in African countries are as important as ever and liberals must remain critical voices of opposition with promises of hope for all citizens.

 

Member parties of the African Liberal Network


Source: THE 14th ANNUAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE AFRICA LIBERAL NETWORK

What Role Do Sex Chromosomes Play In Transgender People’s Identities?

 Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

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What role do sex chromosomes play in the identities of transgender people? originally appeared on Quorathe place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Sai Janani Ganesan, Postdoctoral Scholar at UCSF, on Quora:

Biological gender and gender identity are two very distinct concepts. Biological gender or sex refers to the anatomy and physiology of a human body, whereas gender identity is influenced by a multitude of factors, most of which we don’t fully understand.

Biological sex is purely determined by the choice of sexual differentiation pathway, which is guided by genes on the sex chromosomes (though not exclusively, for example: WNT4 on chromosome 1).Testis-determining factor (TDF) or sex determining gene Y (SRY) located on the Y chromosome is one such gene. SRY is largely responsible for testis formation. It is not the only gene, and a variety of pathways and proteins are involved in this process of sex differentiation, some even located in the autosomal regions, but SRY is… special.

More: Forbes

Civil society: It’s time to rebuild South Africa – spotlight.africa

All aspects of South African life will be impacted by the change in leadership, but to ensure the change is positive, civil society has reminded us that Jacob Zuma was not the only problem that needed fixing. We need more than just a new president.  

The Jesuit Institute South Africa has said South Africans will feel a great sense of relief with the news of Jacob Zuma’s resignation, Section27 said it felt as if the country had awoken from a nine-year nightmare, and the Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office has said it hoped for a new and more honourable era in South African politics. There are very few who have not welcomed the news, but civil society in the country has been quick to point out that the change in president is just the first step. Sweeping change in our politics and leadership culture at all levels of society is essential if we are to avoid repeating the hallmarks of Zuma’s presidency.

Source: Spotlight.africa

This Tory Housing Minister Was In A Private Facebook Group That Wants To Sell Off All Council Housing

The Conservatives’ new housing minister, Dominic Raab, belonged to a private Facebook group that argues for council housing to be sold off at market value, healthcare to be privatised, and the return of workhouses for the poor.

Raab was, until Thursday morning, one of 14 members of a closed group called the “British Ultra Liberal Youth — The Ultras”, which was set up about seven years ago. He withdrew from the group after being approached for comment.

Raab told BuzzFeed News: “I wasn’t aware of this group, let alone that I had inadvertently and mistakenly been linked on Facebook. I have corrected it, and needless to say I do not support its aims.”

Source: Buzzfeed

Life With No Stomach.

Two years ago this week, I was laid low in the Royal Free Hospital (Hampstead), recovering from surgery that removed all my stomach and spleen, together with a massive sarcoma tumour, a stomach “GIST”. I have described before the diagnosis and process leading up to the surgery, and the surgery and stay in hospital. It’s time now to tell of life without a stomach.

The short answer is life is good – almost back to “normal”, before surgery, and certainly easier than I had been led to expect. Prior to surgery, I had been warned by colleagues in the GISTUK Support group, and by on-line information, that after a complete gastrectomy I should expect an extended, gradual adjustment to eating with no stomach, progressing slowly from a liquid diet, through semi-solids to solid foods. I was also advised by two different nutritionists, to avoid drinking with meals, and to avoid at all times, “fizzy” drinks of any kind – such as beer, colas and mixers for spirits. I was also warned that I would need to adjust my daily diet from three meals a day, to six – just half a meal at a time. I was also warned of a most unpleasant “dumping” syndrome, that might make life really unpleasant at times.

In fact, it’s been much easier than that. Even while still in the hospital, I went directly onto “soft” solids, after a week of nil by mouth regime (not even water). Instead of six meals a day, I have four – breakfast and supper are in any case small meals. For lunch, I serve a standard meal but eat only half, and put aside the rest for later, in mid-afternoon. Initially I avoided and drinking at all with my main lunchtime meal, but now find I can happily get away with a whisky and soda before the meal – taken slowly, and nursed through the meal instead of water. I have never experienced any hint of dumping.

I have experienced only minor impacts on my diet. I started out anxious to avoid things like toast, with its hard crusts, and replaced it for my standard breakfast with yoghurt or cereals. However, I soon found that I had developed not quite an allergy, but certainly an aversion, to dairy products. I have since got around this problem by using lactose free milk, which is standard milk wiht the lactose filtered out, and is freely available in major supermarkets, (and has the fringe benefit of a much longer shelf-life).

Conscious of the need to limit drinking and avoid fizzy drinks altogether, I initially avoided all drinks with meals, and later replaced my previously accustomed g&t before lunch with a small whisky and water (to avoid the fizz in the tonic). Later, I replaced the water with soda, and now get away comfortably with a standard scotch and soda.

The only remaining difficulty with diet, is when eating out. If it is feasible to ask for a doggy bag I do so – putting this in the same position of my regular habit of dividing my main lunch meal in two. Where this is not feasible, I may order just a starter (sometimes two starters, instead of a starter plus main), or  simply order a standard meal, and send back what I cannot eat. (Some people recommend ordering from the children’s menu, but I have not yet found this realistic). When selecting from a buffet, for example on conferences, it’s easy – I just limit what I take – and put aside some fruit, for later.

So eating and drinking, which is widely discussed as the major adjustments to life without a stomach, have not been the difficulty that I anticipated.

A bigger problem for me, has been that of fatigue and loss of energy. I understand that this is due to a reduced ability to produce vitiman B12. To compensate, I was advised to have a B12 injection every three month. This certainly helps – I am very conscious, before the due date, of a clear decline in energy, and a revival quite quickly after I’ve had it. To complement the value of the injection, I now also take regular B vitamin supplements, in the form of energy drinks. Even so, I am conscious that I am much lower in energy, and tire more easily, than before surgery. (This loss of energy is mental, as well as physical).

I continue to take the targeted cancer drug imatinib, which I was put onto initially to shrink the tumour. Now, I stay on it as a precaution to prevent regrowth. The standard regime is to stay on the drug for either three or five years, and there is a notable academic debate among the specialists, on which is more appropriate. When I saw my oncologist last week (Dr Seddon at UCLH a noted expert in the field), I noted that it is now two years since surgery, and asked how much longer I would stay on the drug. I was expecting the answer either one year more, or three – but was shaken to be told that it was more likely to be indefinitely. The reason for this is that the sheer size of the tumour, which in itself classifies it as “high risk” of recurrence, also meant that it had been squashed up against several  other organs. Thus, she said, it was entirely likely that although the actual surgery was clean and entirely successful, there could be specks of cancerous cells left behind on those organs.  I need to stay on imatinib to discourage the growth of metastatic tumours.

The problem with that, is that imatinib and other targeted cancer drugs are not effective indefinitely. Sooner or later, there comes a point when they simply stop working. When that time comes, as it will, there will be a move to the standard second-line drug, sunatinib, which is stronger – and has correspondingly more difficult side-effects. That too, will in time lose it’s effectiveness, and will be replaced by a still stronger drug, with still stronger side-effects. After that? There could be a fall-back on clinical trials of new drugs, or less conventional palliative surgery techniques – or whole new therapies, not yet developed.

Long term, the prospects are thus not exactly cheery. However, it is not the long term that matters. For now, what is important is that in spite of everything, life without a stomach continues pretty much as normal, with only minor adjustments. It’s also important to note that new drugs and other therapies are constantly being tested, or even coming on stream.

To quote Dave Gorman, even without a stomach, life is good-ish.