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A Veteran Is Never An “It” Or A “Shim”



Editor’s note:

J. Rudy Flesher is a Philadelphia based actor, blogger and college student. After a three-year detour working in health care he recently returned to The College of New Jersey to complete his B.A. in Women’s and Gender studies. He blogs (sporadically at the moment and daily when school is not in session) at The Pistol in Bed Thirteen.

You can also read Rudy’s first post here, “Twentysomething Hairless White Gay Men Who Have Time To Take Pilates 5 Days A Week.”

This is Rudy’s second piece at The New Civil Rights Movement.

Today, I was moved beyond words by Autumn Sandeen’s open letter to President Barack Obama at Pam’s House Blend, “President Obama: A Transgender Veteran Is Not An ‘Impersonator,’ ‘It,’ Or ‘Shim.” For those of you that haven’t read it, it describes her experience as a transgender retired Navy veteran arrested at Get Equal’s most recent direct action when, along with five others, she handcuffed herself to the White House fence on April 20th. She was misgendered, mocked by U.S. Marshals, and dehumanized, called “it” and “shim.”

I was, as I said, moved – moved to rage, to indignation, to a sudden urge to call and text all of my transgender family and friends, to make sure they were OK. Why? From the way Autumn was treated, to a transgender student recently attacked and had the word “it” carved into hir chest (I use the gender neutral pronoun “hir” because the victim/survivor’s gender was not noted), I fear for the incomparable amount of hatred and violence directed at my transgender, transsexual, genderqueer and gender outlaw family.

Every single one of us needs to stand with Autumn now, and see that this story doesn’t end in the queer and progressive blogosphere. No person is below the status of a full human being, deserving dignity, love, and a life free and violence and fear. No person is an “it.”

What can we do? By drawing national attention to this disgrace, we can open a dialogue about what it means to be transgender on America, and create an opportunity for education, understanding and compassion.

First:  Let’s create a blog storm that reaches the national mainstream media.  Use your blog, Twitter, Facebook, and every other place you have a voice to encourage your friends to contact media outlets and request that they pick up this story.  Copy and paste the following text into the news sites’ contact forms:

“Autumn Sandeen’s inhumane treatment at the hand of U.S. Marshals due to her transgender identity is a disgrace and cannot go unreported, lest it be forgotten, excused or dismissed. Please see her open letter to President Barrack Obama describing the incident here:

and run this story.”

Choose the news station and newspaper that you read and watch the most, or more if you can!



Fox News: Contacts to individual shows here:,2933,77538,00.html email here:


CBS Evening News: or (212) 975-3247

New York Times: or 1-888-NYT-NEWS

Chicago Tribune:,0,2569758.customform

LA Times:,0,5493970.customform

Don’t see your station or newspaper? I found that Googling the name along with “news tips” or “contact us” got me where I needed to go.

Second: Don’t just contact these news sites.  Direct your friends, families, coworkers and neighbors to Autumn’s original piece.  Let them hear about her experience in her own words.

Third: Don’t hate, educate!  If you yourself know little to nothing about trans issues, today is the day to begin learning!  Here are a few great starting places:  The fabulous and incomparable Kate Bornstein has written both Gender Outlaw and My Gender Workbook: How To Become a Real Man, a Real Woman, the Real You, or Something Else Entirely. Another great start is an anthology called GENDERqUEER, which describes many, many gendered experiences. For a scholarly bent, check out The Transgender Studies Reader.

Not being transgender myself, this is the best way I’ve found to be a trans ally:  listen a lot and talk a little.  Don’t speak for people.  Say “my friend had this experience” or “actually that’s a misconception, I read that…”  And for the love of Pete, please don’t go running to the one trans guy or gal in your neighborhood for the run down on all things trans. Just like there’s no singular black, gay, or other experience, there’s no one universal trans experience. Identities are complicated by race, sexuality, class, and geographical location.

The bottom line: you don’t actually need to know anything about a person to realize that you don’t need to hate and dehumanize them! If you simply keep an open heart and mind and realize that every person deserves dignity, move to the head of the class.

You can understand someone’s experience later, but compassion starts now, today, this moment.

(image via Pam’s House Blend)

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Trump Asks Supreme Court to Intervene for Him in Classified Documents Case



Donald Trump on Tuesday petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in his classified documents case, and reverse a ruling from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that allowed the U.S. Dept. of Justice access to the more than 100 classified and top secret documents federal agents recovered from his Mar-a-Lago residence and resort.

Trump is asking the nation’s highest court to order a special master to continue to inspect the 103 classified documents, despite the special master emphatically stating the government, not Trump, gets to decide what is classified and what is not, especially when Trump refused to provide a list of what he considered declassified.

The lawsuit, which is a massive 240 pages, mostly made up of other documents including the now infamous FBI photo of the classified documents on the Mar-a-Lago rug, is addressed to “The Honorable Clarence Thomas, Circuit Justice for the Eleventh Circuit,” and refers to the former president as “President Trump.”

The lawsuit also mentions the contents that federal agents took, including “89 empty envelopes,” while not noting they were classified document envelopes.

“As part of the 11th Circuit’s decision, the panel allowed the criminal investigation to use the seized documents, something [Judge] Cannon had previously barred,” The Washington Post notes. “Trump’s filing seeks only to reverse the appeals court’s ruling on the special master’s access to the documents, not the part of the decision concerning the investigation.”

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. 

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Biden Will Include DeSantis in His Visit to Support Florida Hurricane Victims



President Joe Biden will travel to Florida Wednesday to support families devastated by Hurricane Ian, and will include the state’s GOP governor, Ron DeSantis, in his trip, the White House announced Tuesday.

Last week, asked if he would meet with DeSantis, a top detractor of the president, Biden told a reporter who asked, “I’ll meet with everybody who’s around. The answer is yes, if he wants to meet.”

“This is not about anything having to do with our disagreements politically, this is about saving people’s lives, homes and businesses,” Biden also said last week.

DeSantis asked President Biden for financial assistance for his state, battered by what experts say is one of the worst hurricanes in U.S. history. DeSantis voted against relief aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy when he served in Congress.

President Biden and the First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, will travel via Air Force One to Fort Myers, one of the hardest-hit areas of Florida by Hurricane Ian.

READ MORE: Watch: 2024 Presidential Hopeful Ron DeSantis Says ‘Cause for Concern Cause’ With Democrats Moving to Florida

But Fort Myers is also part of Lee County, where officials delayed evacuation orders.

“Lee County, which includes the hard-hit seaside community of Fort Myers Beach, as well as the towns of Fort Myers, Sanibel and Cape Coral, did not issue a mandatory evacuation order for the areas likely to be hardest hit until Tuesday morning, a day after several neighboring counties had ordered their most vulnerable residents to flee,” The New York Times reported. “By then, some residents recalled that they had little time to evacuate.”

“Lee County, which includes the hard-hit seaside community of Fort Myers Beach, as well as the towns of Fort Myers, Sanibel and Cape Coral, did not issue a mandatory evacuation order for the areas likely to be hardest hit until Tuesday morning, a day after several neighboring counties had ordered their most vulnerable residents to flee,” the Times added. “By then, some residents recalled that they had little time to evacuate.”

The St. Louis Post Dispatch blasted the Florida GOP governor, calling his “flip-flop on hurricane relief” a “study in right-wing hypocrisy.”

READ MORE: ‘Premeditated, Fraudulent, and Illegal’: Asylum Seekers Sue DeSantis After Being Sent to Martha’s Vineyard

“DeSantis’ willingness to shelve his usual attacks on the Biden administration to politely request emergency federal aid in the wake of Hurricane Ian is an inspiring example of constructive bipartisanship — as is Biden’s announcement that the government will bear a big part of the expense,” the Dispatch Editorial Board stated. “It’s interesting, though, that DeSantis took exactly the opposite stance a decade ago when he joined other hard-right members of Congress who argued against generous federal recovery aid when Hurricane Sandy ravaged the Northeast.”

Over the weekend DeSantis was blasted by volunteer relief aid workers who were delayed for hours in distributing “food, water, medicine, diapers, and anything else people needed” so Gov. DeSantis could get a photo-op.


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‘It’s a Lot More Nuanced, Peter, You Know This’: Karine Jean-Pierre Forced to Explain to Doocy the Price of Gas



Fox News propagandist Peter Doocy on Tuesday challenged White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre about the price of gas, suggesting President Joe Biden is responsible for its increase but not its decrease. Jean-Pierre explained what global issues affect the price of gas, while explaining the “historic” steps President Biden has taken.

“You’ve said the President was responsible for gas prices coming down. Is the president responsible for gas prices going up?” Doocy asked.

Jean-Pierre was not about to let that pass to give Fox News a talking point.

“So, it’s a lot more nuanced than that, right, Peter, you know this,” Jean-Pierre pushed back.

READ MORE: Watch: Fox News’ Peter Doocy Admits There Are Republicans ‘That Don’t Agree With Voting Rights’

“There have been global challenges that we have all have dealt with – when I say all, meaning other countries, as well, have dealt with since the pandemic. There’s been pandemic and there’s been Putin’s war. And Putin’s war has increased gas prices at the pump.”

“We have seen that over the past several months and what the President was able to do, he took some historic steps. When you think about the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and making sure that he, we were able to do everything that we can to bring that cost down for American families, give them a little bit more of a breathing room and we saw that we saw that every day this summer, over saving American families, over $1 per gallon. And so that is what the President is going to continue to stay focused on the American consumers. How do we continue to keep to keep prices down? That’s why we we did the inflation Reduction Act that’s why we talk about the Chips Act. All of these things are going to help Americans here in this country.”

Doocy rattled off some of the highest gas prices in the nation, asking, “who can afford that?”

READ MORE: ‘I Was Waiting Peter’: Karine Jean-Pierre Calls Doocy’s Claim ‘Ridiculous’ as He Presses About ‘MAGA Republicans’

“We understand that,” Jean-Pierre replied, expressing empathy, “that’s why the President worked so hard the past several months, to make sure that he did everything we can to bring gas prices down. We have seen fastest – I know you’re pulling out a couple of areas across the country and I get that, and we understand that there’s more work to do. We have never said we were done here. We have always been very clear that there is more work to do. But we have seen the reality is we have seen the fastest decline in gasoline prices in over a decade. That’s because of what this President has done. And again, prices going down by more than dollar per gallon and these are real savings are talking about $100 per month in savings for average family with two cars.”

Watch this short clip below or at this link.

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