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Transgender teens won a big court decision in Australia today

2023-05-22 12:47:20 author:sh419

Transgender teens won a big court decision in Australia today

Transgender teens won a big court decision in Australia today(图1)

It's a big win for transgender teens today in Australia.

Australia was the last place in the world transgender children needed court authorisation to receive Stage 2 hormone treatment, even if they or their parents consented to the procedure.

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That's now no longer the case thanks to a landmark decision(opens in a new tab) in the country's Family Court on Thursday, ending the need for the unnecessary and stressful legal process.

Since 2013, it's been a requirement(opens in a new tab) that courts need to approve Stage 2 treatment.

Stage 2 hormone treatment involves the administration of oestrogen or testosterone, allowing an adolescent to develop the pubertal characteristics of the gender they associate with. It follows Stage 1 hormone treatment, which delays puberty.

The decision responds to a case, Re Kelvin, which involves a 16-year old boy only known as "Kelvin," who was assigned female at birth.

"Kelvin" has been formally diagnosed with gender dysphoria, and despite both his parents consented to him receiving Stage 2 hormone treatment, he still needed court approval.

Transgender teens won a big court decision in Australia today(图2)

Of course, the court process takes an extraordinary toll on transgender teens. As the court notes, if Kelvin were not to receive treatment "his overall health and wellbeing is almost certain to deteriorate especially as his mental and physical health is heavily dependent on the perception of himself as male."

Since 2013, more than 60 applications for treatment have been approved by the Family Court, and Thursday's decision eliminates the stress of the legal system.

"Transgender adolescents will now be able to access the treatment that is best for them, making decisions in collaboration with their parents and their doctors without the delay and the distress that the Court system imposes on them and their families," Michelle Telfer, associate professor at the Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, said in a statement.

"For these young people, the impact of this change is enormous. They will now have timely access to the treatment which provides a positive difference to their physical and mental health, and their social, emotional and educational outcomes."

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    During a Central London protest against prorogation (the official term for the suspension of parliament), a Portuguese woman, who has lived and worked in the UK for 20 years, interrupted an interview and delivered an impassioned and extremely moving speech about Brexit's impact on her life.

    "I've built things for you, I've looked after your children, I looked after the elderly in this country."

    "I'm Portuguese and I worked here for 20 years and I have no voice and the Settlement Scheme is not working," the woman — whose name is unknown — told Sky News.

    The woman is referring to the EU Settlement Scheme(Opens in a new tab), which allows EU citizens to apply to continue living in the UK once it's no longer part of the European Union. She had been attending the protest, stating her reason for attending as "because I need a voice."


    "I gave this country my youth, I'm very grateful for what you taught me but you must make me part of all this process," she said. "I can't just be kicked out, I've built things for you, I've looked after your children, I looked after the elderly in this country, now you kick me out with what?"

    Per(Opens in a new tab) BBC News, a no-deal Brexit would result in the UK immediately exiting the EU with no agreement on Oct. 31. "Overnight, the UK would leave the single market and customs union — arrangements designed to help trade between EU members by eliminating checks and tariffs (taxes on imports)," the BBC explains(Opens in a new tab).

    The woman said she is "very, very hurt" by what's happening to the country.

    As she was about to walk away from the interview, the Sky News journalist urged her not to go away, and asked what was happening with her Settlement Status application.

    She explained that she'd been told her National Insurance number (the UK version of Social Security) didn't "correspond to the right thing" and she's been told she has to restart the whole process.


    "Oct. 31 is fast approaching, what am I going to do? What am I going to do? How am I going to stay? What are my rights?" she said.

  • The friendship lessons weve learned during the pandemic

    The friendship lessons weve learned during the pandemic

    We need our friends more than ever right now.


    I have spent the past 100 days of lockdown in the sleepy Warwickshire village where I grew up. Coming back to the place I once called home, I've become aware that a friendship of mine that once burned bright is now slowly extinguishing itself. Like striking a match on a windy day, all attempts to rekindle it have been snuffed out. That realisation didn't happen upon me overnight but was rather a slow dawning that came after a constellation of silences and scores of unreplied messages. "Don't take it personally," some friends have charitably said to me over voice notes sent from afar. "I'm sure it's not the end," others have said.

    During this time, I've felt as if I'm hovering in the threshold of a door I had once shut firmly behind me. I lived here during my twenties until I moved to London for work and formed some really important friendships during that period.

    Lockdown, for me, has been replete with lessons about my interpersonal relationships. Having the time to sit back and reflect on the friends who are present and engaged in my daily life has been life-affirming. In the dark times of the pandemic, seeking out those who are willing to lend an ear, or who bring levity to difficult moments has made me realise which friends spark joy. Then, of course, there have been sad, difficult realisations about friendships that are no longer what they once were.

    Not all friendships end with a bang. Not all friendships end with a door being slammed in your face. Sometimes that door just imperceptibly swings shut, without so much as a squeak or creak. I've been afraid to even write down these thoughts lest they bring mortal form to the sense of loss I've been feeling. It's not easy to cope when a friendship ends.

    Although we're scarcely past the halfway point of 2020, the teachable moments about our relationships have been plentiful — from learning which of our friends are committed to Black Lives Matter and the anti-racism movement to realising which friends are truly there for you when you need them. I spoke to other people about the lessons they've learned about their friendships during the pandemic.

    "I asked where my friend was and that was when I was informed about his passing."

    Katherine, who prefers to use her first name only, found out an old friend from her hometown had died in April during the lockdown. "He was battling cancer and it had worsened over the last 18 months," she told me. During those 18 months, Katherine was away from home, completing a Masters degree, and working in a new job. "I hadn’t actually been in contact with a lot of my friends from my hometown due to my life moving forward, but they always said to write when I was back," she said.

    "Last weekend, I reached out to a friend whose birthday it was. We had a digital 'party' catch-up with other friends and I was asking around how everyone was, thinking I had forgotten someone," Katherine said. "In the end I asked where my friend was and that was when I was informed about his passing." A friend rang her straight away to let her know what had happened, how the funeral had been during the pandemic restrictions, and the music they played on the day. "We cried, we told each other our favourite stories of our friend, and we had a long chat," she said.

    "I was sad and slightly mad they didn’t tell me at the time, but I can understand I wasn’t their first thought especially after being away for so long," she added. Reflecting on what's happened, Katherine says she plans to be in touch with her friends more frequently now. But she also learned something from the way the news of her friend's passing was broken to her.

    "The girl that broke the news said, 'Well, no one really speaks about what happened,' and the guy who rang me to explain everything said, 'We have to keep talking and remember to keep his memory alive,'" she said. "I’m sticking closer to the people who will talk rather than those who don’t. I wouldn’t want to be not talked about — but rather remembered."

    In times of trouble, having friends who will talk feels more needed than ever before. For Stevie Thomas, lockdown has afforded the chance to figure out which of his friends energise him. He's used the time to do a bit of spring cleaning with his friendships, as he put it, "Only talking to real, true friends that energise me, rather than drain me."

    Thomas has also connected with old forgotten friends, old school friends, and even ex-girlfriends (he's not alone there). It's happened through DMs or even just the act of sharing a meme on WhatsApp. "Simply, I feel myself again," he told me. "I feel free! Without being too dramatic about it, I was far too connected to anyone and everyone digitally, and dragged myself down thinking I needed to accept every invitation that came my way."

    That Wordsworthian feeling of the world being "too much with us" has been felt by others during this time. Michelle Chiera told me she's learned a lot about her friendships during the pandemic. "I think during lockdown I saw myself and my friends go through a sort of panic and really exposed heightened insecurities," she said. "As an introvert, a lot of my extrovert friends do not know how to cope and tend to overwhelm their more introverted friends."

    "COVID-19 with BLM has been extremely stressful," Chiera added. "And for my friends who aren’t Black, they don’t know how to navigate or understand the mental duress that it all causes. We’ve all become very narcissistic and judgmental with our friends during this time and there’s a lack of grace and understanding." In the aftermath of George Floyd's death, who died after three police officers pinned him down, one kneeling on his neck, Chiera found that a lot of her white friends began contacting her for advice and resources on anti-racism. The requests being made of her were not small, either. "They asked for large breakdowns of highly complicated issues," Chiera said. "There’s also a lot of friends who write 'I can’t believe what’s happening right now' which is infinitely more frustrating."

    SEE ALSO: How to be an effective ally online, at protests, and moving forward

    These interactions have made her question those friendships. "I have a lot of empathy and as a trans-racial adoptee — Black in a white family — I’m used to it," she said. "But it is insulting, since I’ve been shouting about these issues my entire adult life and it seems like it’s all fallen on deaf ears. Or that I’ve been invisible." Chiera says she's trying to remain patient and understanding, but this period of time has shown who her true friends are. "It for sure has shown me what other people in my life are willing to accept as blind spots. Which for me are non-negotiables, and in turn on place them in a different category," she said. She doesn't plan to cut anyone out, but she's adjusting her expectations. "In respect to COVID-19 and BLM, this time period has really driven home the importance of boundaries within friendships, and also non-aggressive honesty," she added.

    Discovering which friends have blindspots is an experience shared by Kimberley, who prefers to use her first name only, who moved to Manchester, UK, from her hometown over a decade ago. For her, lockdown has underscored the difference between her school pals and her friends in Manchester. "This has always been an obvious difference but it's never annoyed me as much as this past few months," she told me. "It has really brought into focus the massive gap in interests and lifestyles."

    "Most of my home friends have never shown much interest in politics, or current issues. I think our WhatsApp group is the only place in the UK which hasn't seen any mention of Black Lives Matter," she said. Kimberley said she made peace a long time ago with the fact her friends from home aren't going to be up for deep, important conversations. "But it's getting harder and harder to ignore their ignorance. There is so much going on in the world," she said.

    "How can you be living through this year and have nothing to say?"

    Kimberley has found herself despairing at the absence of any mention of the real-world issues that are affecting people's lives in 2020. Her daily thoughts are taken up with coronavirus, NHS funding, Black Lives Matter, Donald Trump, and the issue of the body positivity movement centering slim white women. But, in her group chat with her home friends, there's not a single mention of any of the aforementioned movements and issues. "My home WhatsApp group makes me actually angry," she said. "It brings up hard questions — do I really want to still hang out with people who have such little interest in wider global issues?" she said. "How can you be living through this year and have nothing to say?"

    We're only halfway through 2020 and it's already proving to be an extremely challenging year for many of us. If we take anything away from this time, it's that we need people around us who love us, support us, and share our values.

    Related Video: What I learned about isolation after 4 months on 'Mars'

  • Dataminr helped cops surveil Black Lives Matter protesters, report finds

    Dataminr helped cops surveil Black Lives Matter protesters, report finds

    Analyzing all your dumb tweets is big business, and for the big data company Dataminr that business just so happened to involve helping police surveil Black Lives Matter demonstrators following the killing of George Floyd.


    So reports the Intercept(Opens in a new tab), which on Thursday detailed how the New York-based data company alerted law enforcement to protests across the country. Dataminr, which bills itself(Opens in a new tab) as offering a "real-time AI platform [that] detects the earliest signals of high-impact events and emerging risks from within publicly available data," hoovers up all public-facing Twitter data, quickly digests it, and offers customer-relevant insights.

    When the customer happens to be police departments across the country, apparently those insights include tracking constitutionally protected activities like peaceful protest.

    The ACLU of Minnesota wasn't happy with the news, and criticized Twitter for allowing Dataminr access to its data.

    "Let us be clear: By allowing this practice, @Twitter is directly endangering protesters," announced the organization(Opens in a new tab). "These actions aid surveillance and risk exposing people to investigations, watchlists, and state violence for calling attention to injustice and exercising their First Amendment rights."

    We reached out to Dataminr in an attempt to confirm the Intercept's report, but received no immediate response. Twitter, on the other hand, had plenty to say.

    "We see a societal benefit in public Twitter data being used for news alerting, first responder support, and disaster relief," wrote a company spokesperson over email. "Twitter prohibits the use of our developer services for surveillance purposes. Period."

    Indeed, Twitter's developer terms(Opens in a new tab) are clear: "We prohibit the use of Twitter data and the Twitter APIs by any entity for surveillance purposes, or in any other way that would be inconsistent with our users' reasonable expectations of privacy."

    So what happened here? Well, Twitter insists that the data pulled by Dataminr is all public — that is to say, only public-facing tweets — and as such is fair game. Which may be true as far as Twitter's policies are concerned, but that doesn't make the Intercept's findings any more palatable.

    "Dataminr meticulously tracked not only ongoing protests, but kept comprehensive records of upcoming anti-police violence rallies in cities across the country to help its staff organize their monitoring efforts, including events' expected time and starting location within those cities," reads the Intercept's report. "A protest schedule seen by The Intercept shows Dataminr was explicitly surveilling dozens of protests big and small, from Detroit and Brooklyn to York, Pennsylvania, and Hampton Roads, Virginia."

    Dataminr, for its part, offers a product called First Alert which the company advertises(Opens in a new tab) as "[alerting] first responders to breaking events, enabling the fastest real-time response."

    An add for the Dataminr service First Alert. Credit: BLUELEAKS / DATAMINR
    An add for the Dataminr service First Alert. Credit: BLUELEAKS / DATAMINR

    It was the First Alert product that reportedly kept law enforcement abreast of protesters' movements — often, according to the Intercept, explicitly peaceful protesters were monitored in this way.

    "We proactively enforce our policies to ensure customers are in compliance and will continue to do so," concluded the Twitter spokesperson. "We consistently hold ourselves accountable to rigorous standards, including third-party audits of key products and services like Dataminr."

    SEE ALSO: Police used ‘smart streetlights’ to surveil protesters, just as privacy groups warned

    And rigorous standards, in theory, are good. Practically, however, when your self-described rigorous standards allow for private companies to enable those who wield violent force against peaceful protesters, they become less so.

  • Comedian absolutely nails AOC impression

    Comedian absolutely nails AOC impression


    Many comedians(Opens in a new tab) will attempt to do an impression of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but few will ever succeed. Thankfully, we finally found someone who has mastered the art.

    Comedian Alyssa Limperis recently posted her impression of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to YouTube (Opens in a new tab)and Twitter(Opens in a new tab) on Thursday. Limperis imagines how Ocasio-Cortez might respond to Tan France, the stylist from Queer Eye, and his infamous French tuck (France's preferred method of tucking shirts).

    The cast of Queer Eye, sans Karamo Brown, recently visited Ocasio-Cortez and other Congressional leaders on Capitol Hill.

    SEE ALSO: AOC invited Bobby from 'Queer Eye' to help decorate her office


    The impression is terrifyingly spot-on. Limperis captures Ocasio-Cortez's emphatic way of announcing her syllables and characteristic hand movements. She knows exactly where she places her gaze and just how often she twists her neck in a mini-fit of irritation.

    Kudos to Limperis for further addressing one of the show's greatest injustices -- the excessive amount of labor Bobby Berk performs compared to others on the show.

    People on Twitter felt similarly.

    We need to have more political impressions like Limperis'. Alec Baldwin has nothing on her.

  • Urban Dictionary wipes offensive and racist definitions for aboriginal

    Urban Dictionary wipes offensive and racist definitions for aboriginal


    Urban Dictionary has made its name through user-submitted definitions, explaining words which normal dictionaries don't.

    While this freedom allows the site's users to explain the most vulgar of slang, it's opened the doors for egregiously racist and discriminatory definitions of regular words.

    SEE ALSO: Hey, tech CEOs: Fighting racism isn't just right, it's also good business

    As reported by Junkee(opens in a new tab), an online campaign spearheaded by the Facebook page Blackfulla Revolution(opens in a new tab) appears to have been successful in forcing the site to remove offensive definitions of the word "aboriginal."

    These definitions were specifically targeted at Indigenous Australians, and were prevalent on the majority of the word's entries up until recently.

    "Laws should be introduced to stop this race [breeding] as they [are] all oxygen wasters," reads one entry.(opens in a new tab)

    "Black people in Australia that are too lazy to get jobs and constantly force the government to give them an apology for nothing," reads another entry from 2005, referring to the Australian government's apology(opens in a new tab) for forcibly removing Indigenous children from families throughout the 20th century.

    A petition(opens in a new tab) received more than 7,000 signatures, asking the site to remove "hurtful and dangerous entries" for the definition of the word "aboriginal." The offensive entries have been wiped, but the entry for the derogatory "abo"(opens in a new tab) still contain unpleasant descriptions of Indigenous Australians.


    The site has been noted for making no effort(opens in a new tab) to curb racist, sexist and plain discriminatory definitions, despite boasting 60 million monthly users(opens in a new tab) globally to advertisers.

    In a New York Times(opens in a new tab) profile, Urban Dictionary founder Aaron Peckham explained how the site's democratic approach reveals the manner in which people are really speaking on the street. But he noted "funny" definitions get voted up on the site.

    "Dictionaries may be more heavily researched, but the real authority on language and the meaning comes from people who speak the language. The whole point of Urban Dictionary is we are defining our own language as we speak it," he told the newspaper.

    It would appear Urban Dictionary has decided to draw the line on racism this time around, thanks to the pressure.

    Mashable has contacted Urban Dictionary for comment.