Saturday, February 27, 2010

"Science and Sexuality" Presentation to LBTQ Women of Chicago

I will present a highly condensed version of my "Science and Sexuality" presentation to an audience of LBTQ women at Center On Halsted, Chicago's LGBT center, on March 13th as part of its H.E.R. Day event.   Since I only have an hour and fifteen minutes for this presentation and my talk usually takes about two and a half to three hours, this presentation will be very abbreviated and will include only the highlights of the research over the last fifty or so years on mammalian and human sexual development.  This short talk entitled "Science of Gender" will be from 1:30 to 2:45 pm in room 201. 

The details of the H.E.R. Day event and my presentation are given below.  If you are a LBTQ woman in the Chicago area, here is your chance to learn many things that will improve your health and well-being.  And it's all free!


H.E.R. Day
Health, Education and Recreation Day for LBTQ Women

Saturday, March 13, 2010
9am - 4:15pm
In honor of Women’s History Month (March), Center on Halsted is proud to present a day-long program for all women, featuring speakers and a wide variety of workshops all about women’s health and well-being.

Seminar Schedule
Keynote Speakers: 10:15- 11: 15
Lynn C. Todman, Ph.D.,
Dr. Todman is the director of the Institute on Social Exclusion (ISE) at the Adler School of Professional Psychology in Chicago, IL. Dr. Todman’s areas of interest include urban poverty, social exclusion, and community development. Her work is multidisciplinary, drawing on the fields of economics, political science, sociology, public health, psychology and systems' dynamics, and focuses on the ways in which social, political, and economic structures systematically marginalize urban populations.

Helena Bushong, Advocate for Chicago Women’s AIDS Project

Session One: 11:30-12:45
Room 201: Holistic Healing 101 (specific focus TBA): Pacific College of Oriental Medicine
Room 202: Bisexual Health: A Dialogue; Dr. Wendy Bostwick
Room 204: Older Women’s Health: Dr. Madga Houlberg, Rush University Senior Care
Room 205: Artificial Insemination 101: Chicago Women’s Health Center
Common Threads Kitchen: Cooking Unboring Healthy Food: Jenny Urban and Jonathan Knight
***Pre-registration needed Email to register.
Hoover-Leppen Theatre: BodyGuard: DeAnna Bellamy and Margaret Buehler

Session Two: 1:30- 2:45
Room 201: The Science of Gender: Dr. Ronnie Drantz
What exactly is a Female? Male? Intersexual? Is intersexuality natural? How many sexes are there? Sex versus Gender? Sexual identity - innate or learned? Sexual orientation? A scientific update on human sexuality from the perspective of a physiologist.
Room 202: Konversational Kung Fu: Ami Moore, certified ASR Relationship Coach
Tips to Disarm, Deflect and Defend Yourself Against Every Day Verbal Assaults: This seminar will give you tips and tricks to say the right thing, the right way at the right time to help you communicate more effectively with friends, lovers, partners, clients and supervisors. These techniques will allow you to respond consciously and constructively in the moment, instead of suffering from "brain farts" and thinking of the perfect retort days later.
Room 204: Transgender Health: Lois Bates, Howard Brown Health Center
Room 205: Holistic Healing 101 (specific focus TBA): Pacific School of Oriental Medicine
Common Threads Kitchen: Cooking Unboring Healthy Food: Jenny Urban and Jonathan Knight
***Pre-registration needed. Email to register.

Session Three: 3:15-4:30
Room 201: A Conversation on Women of Color
Room 202: Room Heart Saver CPR (lasts until 5:30): AED and CPR Consulting
Heart Saver CPR is designed to teach CPR and relief of foreign-body airway obstruction (FBAO). This class covers Adult (8 Years +), Child (1-7), and Infant (under 1) emergencies.
*** Pre-registration needed. Link to register is:
Room 205: Sexual Embodiment: Chris Connelly
How many of you felt the sex education you received really spoke to you? If we received it at all, the main focus tended to be on STIs and pregnancy. I wish to approach a subject with the understanding that we are sexual beings and our sexuality is a beautiful integral part of who we are. This presentation will focus on helping people understand how to access their pleasure and become more present in and with their bodies. We will talk about the basics of the brain and anatomy as they relate to pleasure. The power of the senses and breath to enhance your sexual experience, sexual safety and communication in a way that is fun, open and interactive. The idea of this class is for participants to leave sexually validated and with the tools to communicate their sexual desires and better access their pleasure and others'.
John Baran Senior Center: Yoga

This is a FREE EVENT! Complimentary breakfast and lunch!!!

Space is limited, and RSVP is strongly encouraged. RSVP to Christine Forster at or call 773.472.6469 X 441.

March 13, 2010 is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

Center on Halsted 3656 N Halsted, Chicago, IL 60613

Sunday, February 14, 2010

LGBT Informational Picket at Holy Name Cathedral on Valentine's Day

Members of Chicago's Gay Liberation Network were joined by PFlag members from the northern Illinois region and other LGBT folk and allies at Holy Name Cathedral on the cold Sunday/Valentine's Day morning to picket Cardinal George's hateful anti-gay activities.  Cardinal George is the most powerful enemy of LGBT people in the Chicago area.
Here's a video snippet featuring Brent Holman-Gomez and Andy Thayer of GLN as the first and third speakers respectively.

While juggling a huge gay flag with a sign I made nailed to the pole that read "BORN GAY I'm supposed to be this way," I managed to take some photos of the picketing with my Treo.  Still more here.

Some of our chants were:
Homophobia is a sin
Homophobes go to hell
Stop funding the bigots
Stop the harm, stop the hate, separate church and state
Love your gay children
I noticed that young mothers with small children were the most agitated by our demonstration.  When we shouted:  "What if your child is gay?," they got visibly upset.  Here's what I think.  For the first time, these women were confronted in their minds with a divide between their religion's edict and their mothering instinct.  The thought that bringing their kids to church could turn out to be a bad thing for the kids (if in fact the kids are gay), startled them.  Well, as someone who was a gay Catholic girl, I know the damage that the Church did to me - and that is why I was there picketing at Holy Name Cathedral.  That's the only way to get me to go to church!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Anti-Gay Catholic Hierarchy To Be Confronted by LGBT Activists on Both Sides of the Ocean

The global enemy of LGBT people is being confronted by LGBT activists on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.  Peter Tatchell and other British LGBT activists will protest against Pope Benedict during his state visit to the United Kingdom. This will occur on the same day (February 14th), as I posted earlier, that Andy Thayer and other members of Chicago’s Gay Liberation Network will picket Cardinal George who has been a major accomplice to the evil doings of the Pope.

Here is what Peter Tatchell has to say about the Vatican:

This tiny State inhabited mainly by priests is extremely powerful and its "moral" crusades adversely affect the lives of millions of people in Europe and in the world.

Officially part of the UN, its "observer-state" status means it engages in UN debates on a variety of issues ranging from favourites, such as birth control, abortion and homosexuality, to the environment, war and global trade.

The Vatican has diplomatic relationships with almost all the Countries in the world (174 when John Paul II died) and in many EU countries they benefit from the support of Catholic politicians or in many cases of Christian political parties. Of the 27 countries of the European Union, 14 are bound to the Vatican by at least one treaty. No other religion has such a power in Europe and in the World, thus prompting the Economist to publish an investigation about the diplomatic service of the Vatican, questioning whether it deserves its special status in the UN (21/07/2007)

The Catholic Church is an extremely profitable business. They own businesses such as hotels, restaurants, shops and private schools and they DON’T pay any tax! On top of this, the Vatican receives public money in many countries: in Italy about 1000 million Euros from taxes is destined to the Vatican every year (930 millions € in 2006 ).

The Vatican wields considerable political and economic power. It uses its influence and privilege to impose an agenda on a variety of issues that affect our lives as European citizens, and limit our civil rights and our civil liberties.

The issue of women's rights and the Catholic Church goes way beyond the hierarchy of the church, where women are unable to ascend to priesthood as a result of their gender. Women who have had a divorce, women who want to have an abortion and women who are living as single parents in catholic countries are often victims of intimidation and discrimination. The Pope encourages us to view women as unequal to men, by consistently and publicly stating that the two genders are naturally different and that women are naturally inclined for domestic living. In some catholic countries, like Ireland and Poland, abortion is illegal. In others, like Italy, the right to an abortion is constantly under threat from the Vatican's pressure on the Government.

The Pope thinks being gay is an "objective disorder" and a "moral evil". In many countries in the world you can still get the death penalty for being gay. A proposal to de-criminalise homosexuality was opposed by the Vatican in the UN because it would mean that States where same-sex unions are not recognized would be discriminated against and unfairly subjected to international pressure.

This is certainly a global issue, but it also directly affects people living in the UK. This country is regarded by many as fairly "secular" but in reality, Christianity remains strongly embedded in many British Institutions and continues to enjoy unfair religious privilege.
Although a limited right to abortion has been granted to women living in England, Scotland and Wales since 1967, in Northern Ireland it remains illegal. This anomaly is significantly due to religious influence. Christian lobbies are engaged in continual efforts to restrict a woman's right to abortion and have succeeded in reducing the time limit for an abortion in Great Britain from 28 to 24 weeks.

Religion retains undue influence and power in various ways. With increasing numbers of state funded faith schools (1 in 3 of all schools in the UK is either Catholic or Church of England), they continue to exercise a strong influence on young people.

With public opinion distracted over the proposal to refer to the Christian roots of Europe they made sure that the proposed EU Constitution – and now the approved Lisbon Treaty (article 16C) - dangerously commits the European Union to "an open, transparent and regular dialogue with Churches and religious organisations".


The reactionary head of the Catholic Church is to be accorded a state visit to Britain next September: Joseph Ratzinger will meet the Queen and speak in both Houses of Parliament. The whole visit will have the full panoply of a visiting head of state.

We should not forget that his 'teachings' have resulted in the banning of condoms in developing countries where HIV is decimating the populations. He encourages population growth in places where starvation is common. He persecutes homosexuals, treats women as second class citizens, has colluded in the large-scale cover up of child abuse. His Church interferes illegitimately in politics and undermines democracy. It siphons huge amounts of money out of poverty-stricken economies.

We should firmly reject honouring the head of a Church with a lavish state reception in the UK.


The state should be neutral in matter of religion or belief.

The beliefs of any group may not be used to limit the rights of others.

We affirm the common values of the people of Europe as expressed in the Brussels Declaration.

We need to protect democracy and to champion human rights against those who wish to retain undemocratic influence and privilege.

This event is organized by the Central London Humanist Group in partnership with the British Humanist Association, the National Secular Society, One Law for All, the Gay And Lesbian Humanist Association, the Rationalist Association and Peter Tatchell's OutRage!

Go to to RSVP and join in the “welcoming committee” for the Pope!

Here is what Andy Thayer has to say about Cardinal George:

“In contrast to the church laity, who holds a variety of views on gays – pro-equality and anti-equality – the leadership of the Catholic Church has been unified in its opposition to equal rights.

This is not just about the equal right to marry. In Illinois, Cardinal George and his predecessors over the years have worked behind the scenes to vehemently oppose EVERY piece of equal rights legislation for Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgender (LGBT) people that has ever been proposed, including opposing:
-- equal employment rights
-- equal access to housing
-- equal access to public accommodations
-- equal access to adoption.
And they haven’t been above playing hardball to get their way:
* The church leadership recently threatened to torpedo support for Congressman Luis Guiterrez’s immigration law bill if it included any consideration for LGBT people
* In Washington, DC, the church leadership threatened remove support for the homeless there if the District upheld its equal marriage rights bill.

On Freedom-to-Marry Day 2010 – aka, Valentine’s Day – we will drag the Church leadership’s bigotry out into the open for all the see with a picket of Cardinal George at Chicago’s Holy Name Cathedral, 735 N State Street at 10:30 AM. For more information go to or email Please join the Facebook Event for the action,, and invite others!”

I will be at Holy Name Cathedral with my fellow members of Gay Liberation Network picketing the evil Cardinal George on February 14th. Where will you be?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Picket Anti-Gay Cardinal George on Freedom-to-Marry-Day!

Because bigots need to be called out, whether they wear clerical robes or not!

I cannot think of a greater enemy in the Chicago area to LGBT people than Cardinal George. While this blog has a scientific focus and never mentions the vast majority of my political activism, sometimes I regard a political happening as so important to LGBT people that it becomes a post here. Below is a statement from Chicago’s Gay Liberation Network explaining why Cardinal George needs to be confronted by LGBT people.

In opposition to the desires of millions of lay Catholics for simple justice for all, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church has long alligned itself with, and often led, the forces of hate and bigotry opposing equal rights for gays and women.

At 10:30 AM on Freedom-To-Marry-DaySunday, February 14, Valentine’s Day – the Gay Liberation Network will host an informational picket of Chicago’s Holy Name Cathedral, 735 N. State Street, to highlight the role the Church’s leadership has played in promoting inequality.

For many years the Catholic leadership has attempted to fly under the radar screen with its opposition to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. A key secret to their success has been their stealthiness, ironically often assisted by gay rights “leaders.” These leaders, not trusting rank-and-file Catholics to be fair and too worried about hurting their fundraising base with well-connected and wealthy Catholics, are too cowardly to call out Catholic leaders for promoting hate and discrimination.

As a local example, Chicago's Catholic leader Cardinal Francis George has worked tirelessly -- albeit from behind the scenes -- to block our path to full legal equality. George attempted to kill LGBT inclusion as a protected class in the Illinois Human Rights Act, which now protects us from housing and employment discrimination. He and other Catholic bishops circulated petitions in a failed effort to force an advisory referendum on "gay marriage," and George is the head of the national Conference of Catholic Bishops which spent big bucks backing Prop 8 hate in California. Back in Illinois, George is working hard today to block same sex-marriage and/or civil unions.

On Sunday, February 14th, with our picket of Holy Name Cathedral, we will make a start in dragging Francis George's bigotry out of the closet.

But Cardinal George is no lone voice in the wilderness. He is joined by almost the entire hierarchy of the Catholic Church whose record of activism against gay equality is long and sordid:

  • Speaking of the current pope, the Associated Press reported that “Benedict, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, spearheaded a Vatican campaign against same-sex unions in 2003, issuing guidelines for Catholic politicians to oppose laws granting legal rights to gay couples when he was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.” Associated Press, 6/6/05
  • The Portland, Maine Archdiocese gathered more than a quarter of the funds recently used to defeat marriage equality in Maine. In addition, Marc Mutty, the chair of the principal statewide organization in Maine that fueled anti-gay discrimination there, was the Portland Archdiocese’s head spokesperson until taking a leave of absence from his job to spearhead the successful effort to rob gays and lesbians of their equal marriage rights.
  • The Catholic fraternal organization Knights of Columbus bankrolled California’s anti-gay Proposition 8 to the tune of over $1 million.
  • As California’s East Bay Express noted about newly-minted Oakland Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, “What almost no one knows is that without Bishop Sal, gay men and lesbians would almost surely still be able to get married today. As an auxiliary bishop in San Diego, Cordileone played an indispensable role in conceiving, funding, organizing, and ultimately winning the campaign to pass Proposition 8. It was Bishop Sal and a small group of Catholic leaders who decided that they had to amend the state constitution. It was Bishop Sal who found the first major donor and flushed the fledgling campaign with cash. It was Bishop Sal who personally brought in the organization that took the lead on the petition drive. And it was Bishop Sal who coordinated the Catholic effort with evangelical churches around the state. Bishop Sal even helped craft the campaign's rhetorical strategy, sitting in on focus groups to hone the message of Proposition 8."
While Catholic leaders decry any attempts to label them as haters and bigots, their own scapegoating statements tell a very different story about their true feelings:

  • Former pope Karol Wotija, aka John Paul II, condemned gay foster parents for doing "violence" to children. He called us "disordered," and "against the natural law." He railed against civil marriage equality for all same-sex couples whether Catholic or not, condemning our civil marriage contract as an act "against God," and proclaimed defeating marriage equality his "primary task" for 2005.
  • In a 2005 pastoral letter read in every church in the diocese of Calgary, Alberta, Bishop Frederick Henry called on his flock to stamp out same-sex marriage. “Since homosexuality, adultery, prostitution and pornography undermine the foundations of the family, the basis of society, then the State must use its coercive power to proscribe or curtail them in the interests of the common good." (
  • In an end-of year address in 2008, the current pope, George Ratzinger (aka Benedict XVI), said that the existence of gay people threatens humanity as much as the destruction of rainforests and that "blurring" genders through acceptance of transgender people would kill off the human race.
  • Beginning in 1986, Ratzinger wrote a series of church documents that branded sexually active gays as "evil," told church officials to kick Dignity chapters off church property and even warned Catholic lawmakers that voting in favor of gay-rights legislation is "gravely immoral" because "the approval or legalization of evil is something far different from the toleration of evil." (Deb Price, Detroit News)
  • Ratzinger has disparaged lesbian and gay couples as engaging in “pseudo-matrimonies by people of the same sex.”
  • Bishop Cordileone has called same-sex marriage a Satanic plot: "The ultimate attack of the Evil One is the attack on marriage.”
  • In 2007 Chicago’s Cardinal George wrote that same-sex behavior "brings people's salvation into jeopardy" in a column for the Archdiocese of Chicago newspaper.
When haters garb themselves in clerical robes, their statements and activities must be exposed.

The Gay Liberation Network encourages all people of good will, regardless of faith background, to join us at 10:30 AM, Sunday, February 14 for an informational picket of Holy Name Cathedral, 735 N. State Street, Chicago.

As a member of Chicago’s Gay Liberation Network, I will be in this important picketing event. If you live in the Chicago area, please RSVP and join this protest.